Frequently asked questions
Why is Public Trust involved?
The Family Court engages Public Trust to examine statements on its behalf. This is set out in section 46 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.
Public Trust provides an opinion to the Court on the accuracy of the statements submitted to the Court.
Public Trust provides an opinion based on fact and cannot pass judgement on any transactions but from time to time can highlight transactions to the Court that may need further attention.
What does it cost?
The current cost of Public Trust's examination is set at $132 (including GST) per hour. This is outlined in section 6 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988. Public Trust invoices as the examination progresses.
Who do property managers file their statements with?
Property managers file statements directly with the Court and not Public Trust. This is because the Court controls matters directly with Court-appointed managers.
What am I meant to prepare and file?
Property statement (first time)
Prepare a statement of the protected person’s property (i.e. all assets and liabilities) at the date of the order and submit to the Court along with supporting documentation within 3 months from the date of the order.
Annual statement (ongoing)
Prepare an annual statement of the protected person’s property as at the anniversary date of the order. The report must cover the management of all property (assets and liabilities) under management by the manager including a summary of all receipts and payments during the period ending on the anniversary date
The annual statement along with the supporting documentation needs to be submitted to the Court within 30 days of the anniversary date.
Final statement (last time)
This is required if the protected person dies or on cessation/discharge of orders or when the manager’s responsibilities end on the applicable date.
The report must cover the management of all property (assets and liabilities) under management by the manager, including a summary of all receipts and payments during the period ending on the date of death or management stopping.
The final statement with supporting documentation needs to be submitted to the Court within 30 days of death or cessation/discharge of the order.
Public Trust may seek further clarification and/or information directly from the property manager in relation to the filed statement as required.
What date does the statement need to be prepared for?
The date will be based on the order date, the annual order anniversary date or the responsibility end date. However, the manager can apply to the Court, to have the annual anniversary date moved to a more suitable date such as the end of the financial year (31 March).
What is the timeframe for the examination?
Public Trust aims to submit completed examinations to the Court within 3 months of receiving them from the Court (subject to conditions being met). Should Public Trust require further information/clarification from the manager, the manager has 30 days to respond.
What if the manager chooses not to comply?
If the manager does not provide information within the 30-day period, Public Trust may issue an examination based on information on hand, which may lead the Court to do further follow-up with the manager.
If the manager chooses not to comply or submit statements properly, they are committing an offence. The Court can summon the manager to attend and award a fine.
Does the statement submitted to the Court need to be examined by Public Trust?
Under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act, all statements are required to be examined by Public Trust, unless the Court appoints a corporate trustee as the manager, in which case no examination is required.
Can the manager be paid for their services?
No, unless the manager has obtained an order from the Court authorising payment for their services. However, reimbursements for expenses can be claimed out of the protected person's assets.
Can the statement be prepared professionally?
Yes. A fee can also be paid to the professional preparing the statement (as long as they are not the manager).
When prepared professionally, Public Trust will still be required to examine the statement and will charge based on a time and attendance basis.
Does the manager need to disclose their position?
Yes. As the protected person’s property manager, you need to disclose your position to anyone you are dealing with before entering into any contract or arrangement on behalf of the protected person.
Can the manager buy and sell assets on behalf of the protected person?
Yes. Anything above the specified sum in the court order will require Court consent. Contact your legal representative for more information about this.
Can gifting be undertaken?
Yes, up to a total sum of $5,000 per annum. Amounts above this will require Court consent.
Note: some property orders do have restrictions to gifting. Please check to ensure you do not have a restriction.
What if a manager has doubts on the requirements?
The manager should apply to the Court for further guidance in relation to the manager’s powers and duties, such as the requirements when selling a property.
For further information in relation to the Act or responsibilities as a property manager, please contact your local court.
For further information in relation to the examination, please contact Public Trust at [email protected] or phone 0800 782 766.
Can Public Trust provide advice and guidance about the property order?
No. Public Trust's role is to undertake the examination on behalf of the Court. For advice and guidance, please contact your legal representative or your local court.