Services For Managed Clients
Legal Service Branches
The Legal Services Branch is part of NSW Trustee & Guardian's Client Services Division and plays an important role in protecting the legal rights and interests of clients.
Management of the financial affairs of clients gives rise to a wide variety of legal matters in most jurisdictions including personal injury, debt and asset recovery; family law and child support; legal costing; property matters; employment law; claims under the Family Provision Act 1982 and other deceased estate matters.
Legal officers provide legal advice and representation in respect of the financial affairs of clients and also to NSW Trustee & Guardian and the Public Guardian, in respect of corporate matters, including Appeals to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Legal officers are also involved in the process of substitute decision making by NSW Trustee & Guardian and minimising the outsourcing of legal matters to a panel of legal service providers in connection with litigation and other legal matters involving protected persons. Legal officers may exercise decision making delegations or may make recommendations to NSW Trustee & Guardian in relation to the commencement of court action and the settlement of claims.
Members of the branch are also available for community consultation and education with regarding to legal issues affecting people with disabilities.
NSW Trustee & Guardian's Disability Advocacy Unit ensures the organisation engages effectively and appropriately with people with a disability. It advocates with government and non-government agencies and provides policy advice, training, support and guidance to NSW Trustee & Guardian's client service staff.
The Disability Advocacy Unit coordinates the provision of external disability expertise, through the Authorised Visitor program. The unit also liaises with internal and external stakeholders on disability issues, challenges, service systems and client needs to inform decision making.
Financial Planning Services
NSW Trustee & Guardian Financial Planning Branch prepares a Statement of Advice (SOA) for the investment of client’s funds based on the client’s situation and circumstances to ensure their needs are met over the short and long term. It operates in compliance with the Australian & Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s best practice.
An Authorised Visitor is appointed by NSW Trustee & Guardian to provide independent expert advice in both our oversight role with private managers and our decision making functions as a financial manager. This assists in ensuring that that substitute decisions which are made for clients are consistent with their needs and lifestyle.
An Authorised Visitor is a professional independent of NSW Trustee & Guardian. An Authorised Visitor charges on a fee for service basis. The client's estate meets the cost of the report.
The objectives of visits by a Authorised Visitor are:
- to provide a comprehensive picture of a client, his/her living environment, quality of life, social interactions, health status and needs
- to provide a professional opinion regarding the person's needs on which Client Service Officers can base decision making or to inform the Private Management Support Branch in its role of directing and authorising private managers
- to consult with significant parties and report on the client's wishes and views, their social circumstances, their physical, sensory, emotional, psychological, and intellectual status, their capacity to understand decision making and to contribute to this process, and current and future needs. The report includes recommendations for enhancing the client's quality of life consistent with his or her financial resources
- to provide Client Service Officers and Private Management Officers with information as to how their recommendations can be acted upon.
Glenda's brother, Robert, was appointed as her private financial manager several years ago.
Glenda is 61, single and lives alone in her own home. Her family lives close by but her only contact is with her family and a service provider.
Glenda has a brain injury as a result of an accident 8 years ago. She is said to have poor memory and is blind in her right eye.
Glenda had been receiving services from a support agency for over a year. A support worker from the agency assisted Glenda with household tasks she may not have completed and took Glenda out to do activities of her choice in the community. Initially the insurance company met the costs for this service. But when Glenda's compensation settlement came through, Robert, as the financial decision-maker for Glenda, decided to stop the services on the grounds of their cost.
The Private Management Liaison Officer (PMLO) from NSW Trustee & Guardian was advised by the care agency that Glenda had expressed to them her desire to have their continued support. They also informed the PMLO that the Private Manager, Robert, had requested the agency cease providing services to Glenda. After speaking to Robert and hearing his views regarding the cost of the services and considering the advice from the Agency that Glenda needed and desired the services the PMLO needed to clarify the situation. The PMLO requested an Authorised Visitor to visit Glenda. The Authorised Visitor was asked to provide an independent report on Glenda's views, needs and wishes.
In discussions with the Authorised Visitor, the agency stressed the importance of Glenda's family in her life, however they were concerned that Robert may have ignored Glenda’s wishes. The agency stated their concern that if Glenda were left without care she would be doing nothing but drinking and smoking alone in her home. They believed she would also neglect her self-care. The agency had an informal contract with Glenda that she would have had a shower and is dressed in clean clothes by the time the support worker arrived. The worker would also check that the house was relatively clean and tidy or assist in this activity prior to going out. The agency was prepared to negotiate future cost with Robert.
The Authorised Visitor reported that Glenda was able to express her views and wishes and confirmed that Glenda was very keen for the services to resume and that she was unhappy that the service had been stopped.
The Authorised Visitor reported that Glenda on the day of the visit, presented as unkempt. Her clothes were dirty and it was suspected that she did not shower regularly. The house was also unclean. The Authorised Visitor was of the view that the care plan for Glenda put together by the agency provided Glenda with social contact and involvement in community activities. It also helped her initiate personal hygiene and domestic duties. These tasks were no longer happening and there was no organised plan for Glenda's care.
The Authorised Visitor stated that from talking to Robert, she felt he misunderstood his role as his sister’s financial manager. He seemed to believe his role was to protect Glenda's money by reducing her spending as much as possible rather than considering that a budget and using the finances to enhance Glenda's life where possible. Robert told the Authorised Visitor he had been unaware of how much assistance the agency were providing Glenda and was surprised by some of the changes he had noticed in Glenda's physical presentation and behaviour since the agency ceased service provision.