Dealing with Trustee in Guardianship

By Bailey Compton 17 Nov 2023


Dealing with an arrogant bureaucracy.

The Trustee and Guardian undertakes a number of functions. Some of these functions, importantly to real estate, are:

– The management of assets of those who are not mentally capable; and
– Deceased estates.

Although management is done internally, the Trustee and Guardian uses external pages to sell properties for deceased estates. All that the Trustee and Guardian gives you in terms of identification is the certificate issued under the legislation.

Two things to remember when dealing with a trustee in guardianship: First, it is a bureaucracy and has a level of arrogance when dealing with external real estate agents. As said to me when trying to get information from one of our clients: If they don’t like it, we’ll just use another agent. In other words, even though all our client was trying to do was comply with the Property and Stock Agents Act 2002, Trustee and Guardian would retract their Agency Agreement and go to another agent who will not enforce their compliance responsibilities. Secondly, even though the trustee in guardianship is a part of the government, they have little respect for real estate agent compliance. The Trustee and Guardian sells in the proximity of 300 properties a year and agents are numbers. Agents are opportunities in terms of sales. This power is utilized as a means of getting their way.

An agent’s responsibility is to ensure the identity of the person selling. Moreover, they are responsible for ensuring that you are working for the person who has the power to sell the property.
The person you are working with in the Trustee and Guardian will not give you any identification. The certificate that they use, which could be duplicated by a hacker, is all they provide to you in terms of identification. What we have suggested to agents is that, considering they cannot get appropriate identification, you should ensure that you are working for an organisation with the power to sell. Therefore, you should seek a copy of the probate, which will show the trustee in guardianship is empowered to sell the property.

In terms of ID, you will therefore have on your file two documents:

– A legitimately issued certificate from the Trustee and Guardian; and
– A Supreme Court order that indicates the Trustee and Guardian is the executor of the Will.

These two documents should suffice if Fair Trading ever raises an issue of identification