COVID-19 pandemic update: Changes to Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney
Effective: 14 September 2020
PTG announces the following change to its Will and Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) policy during the COVID–19 emergency period effective from Monday 14 September 2020.
With the relaxation of restrictions, PTG will resume in-person Will and EPOA appointments on level 9, 221 London Crct.
In doing so, PTG has implemented measures, to minimise any risk to the health and safety of clients and staff alike. These include masks, anti-bacterial hand sanitiser, appropriate distancing and a protective screen.
Should you be seeking to have the Public Trustee and Guardian make your Will and EPOA, please contact the office on 6207 9800 during business hours to make an appointment.
Should you feel unwell on the day of your appointment, or you have recently travelled outside the Canberra region, or if you have been in contact with a person self-isolating, we ask that you contact us to make an alternative appointment.
Normal fees and charges will apply from Monday 14 September onwards.
Public consultation: Protection of Rights Review - have your say
27 Aug 2020
A public consultation about changes made to the structure of the ACT's Rights Protection Agencies (including the Public Trustee and Guardian) in 2016 is now underway. Under the 2016 changes, the functions of Public Trustee and Public Guardian were merged into a new agency, the Public Trustee and Guardian for the ACT.
The legislation for these changes provided that they be reviewed as soon as practicable. An independent review has now commenced and public consultation on the review is open until 23 September 2020.
The review is interested in hearing:
- your views on the current model of these agencies
- how the agencies work with others in the community
- the efficiency and effectiveness of agency complaints handling and service delivery
- opportunities to improve knowledge and understanding of the work of the agencies and the services they provide;
- how to improve service user and stakeholder experiences.
The review will also consider a recommendation from the Our Booris Our Way report, that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Commissioner be established in the ACT.
To have your say you can either:
- visit the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate's Protection of Rights Review website and participate in the survey (10 minutes, all questions optional); OR
More information is available on The Justice and Community Safety website.
Updated resources including COVID-19
3 June 2020
Australian Government resources:
COVID-19 health, wellbeing and safety information translated into 14 languages
ACT Government resources:
COVID-19 plain and easy English information on support for People with Disability
The Connect in Canberra website provides information on services and programs to support Canberran's diverse community
COVID-19 pandemic: Changes to Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney
Effective: 2 June 2020
COVID-19 update: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Trustee and Guardian (PTG) has adopted a new policy in respect to making Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA's). This has been necessary to comply with current government restrictions and guidelines for all but essential services and to protect the health and safety of our staff and clients.
PTG has amended its COVID-19 policy on the preparation of Wills and EPOAs to accommodate S.4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020. Under this revised policy, PTG will continue to make Wills and EPOAs only for persons in Emergency situations. For these purposes, 'Emergency' means where the person is gravely or terminally ill.
In these Emergency situations, please call our switchboard on (02) 6207 9800 during business hours or email us through our contact form to enquire about making an appointment.
Should we agree to go ahead and make your Will/EPOA, one of our staff will contact you to make the necessary arrangements. We will take your instructions by phone and make a draft of the Will/EPOA. We will either email the draft Will/EPOA to you or visit your place of residence to confirm and finalise the Will/EPOA.
To arrange the signing and witnessing of the document, PTG will observe the following practice.
A. If the Will/EPOA is to be signed and witnessed in person:
During the visit, our staff will wear a mask and use antibacterial sanitiser and may ask you to do the same. The meeting will also seek to identify you, ensure that you have capacity to make a Will/EPA and that you are making your Will/EPA freely and voluntarily without coercion.
Once the Will/EPA is made, it will be printed, signed and witnessed on the spot.
B. If the Will/EPOA is to be signed by the testator/principal and then witnessed by PTG by audio-visual link:
The signature and witnessing of the Will/EPOA must be undertaken in real time.
The signature and witnessing must be undertaken through an audio-visual link (eg Skype, Facetime, Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Meeting etc).
PTG must observe the testator/principal's signature of the document in the original. The signature of the witness will be accompanied by the following statement:
'I confirm that I witnessed the signature of XYZ by audio-visual link and that the document that was signed is one and the same as the document I witnessed and that I witnessed the signing of the document in accordance with S.4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020.'
No fee is payable for Will/EPA's made in this manner during COVID-19.
Our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
Update: 26 Mar 2020
We apologise to our clients for any inconvenience you may experience in dealing with the Public Trustee and Guardian during the Coronavirus pandemic. The safety of our clients, our people and community is a high priority.
Due to the current public health emergency, the Public Trustee and Guardian (PTG) will continue essential services with some restrictions. Until further notice all face-to-face services will cease. PTG will continue to undertake essential services by email and phone.
Given the increasing importance of social distancing, alternate working arrangements are being made for PTG employees.
PTG acknowledges that the current situation is uncertain and disruptive, nevertheless please be assured that every effort is being made to continue to provide essential services to PTG's clients
2020 Seniors Week Forums
2020 Seniors Week Forums: We regret that we have had to cancel these events due to risk associated with the Coronavirus
In order to minimise risk, we have reluctantly decided to postpone our Seniors' Week activities including our forums scheduled for –
- Dickson Tradesman Union Club on Tuesday 24th March 2020; and
- Tuggeranong Town Centre Vikings on Wednesday 25th of March 2020.
The ACT's Council on the Ageing has also cancelled the Seniors' Week Expo scheduled for Thursday 26th of March 2020. Advice will be posted on this website when these events will be rescheduled.
As risk associated with the pandemic increases, we will carefully consider the means by which we provide our in-person services.
Will and Enduring Power of Attorney appointments will only be accepted on an emergency basis with any risk dealt with on a case by case basis.
We assure you that should our staff display symptoms of the virus they will be required to self-isolate pending testing. Similarly any of our staff returning from overseas will also be required to self-isolate for the recommended period. Similarly, if you or someone you have been in close contact with, has recently returned from overseas, or are currently experiencing symptoms, please take the necessary isolation precautions and do not attend our premises.
PTG has a Business Continuity Plan in place and will strive to ensure that our services are not overly impacted by the pandemic.
We encourage you to access the following resources: