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Appointment of a Trustee


Last amended: 31 January 2008

Who can be appointed as a trustee?

The Commission may appoint trusteeship for a pensioner to any of the following:

  • relative/s of the pensioner,
  • a neutral third party (such as solicitors, the Protective Commissioner in the appropriate state or territory, or public trustee companies) in whom it could normally and reasonably be expected to vest the financial affairs of a person, and who may already act as trustee for the pensioner's other financial affairs, or
  • the Commission itself, but only where there are exceptional circumstances such as the inability to appoint a third party to be trustee.

Note: For aged care residents, it is prudent to appoint a neutral party such as the Public Trustee, rather than an employee of an aged care facility as trustee, to avoid the potential for conflict of interests in the management of the pensioner's money.

How to apply



A written application must be received by the Commission, and include the following:

  • personal details of the proposed trustee,
  • a signed statement by the proposed trustee, accepting the trusteeship and acknowledging the responsibilities thereof, and
  • evidence to support the need for the appointment of a trustee.
Proof of identity

In order to identify a proposed trustee and/or their relationship to the pensioner, a proof of identity check must be made on all applications.    

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Evidence required

An application for appointment of a trustee must be supported by two professional certificates establishing that a person is infirm or otherwise incapable of managing their own affairs, and requires a trustee. At least one of the reports must be from a medical practitioner. The other may be from some other professional person e.g. a social worker.

Notification of appointment

Once approved, notification of the appointment is to be made in writing to the trustee, and include a copy of the terms and conditions of the trust.    

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According to Section 179 of the VEA, the Commission is a body corporate under the name of Repatriation Commission.



Trustee has two meanings depending on the context, (i) and (ii).

(i) a person who looks after someone else's affairs

According to section 202 of the VEA, a trustee is a person appointed by the Commission to administer the financial affairs of a pensioner who may be incapable of managing their own affairs for reasons such as:

  • age,
  • infirmity,
  • ill health, or
  • improvidence.

These criteria include circumstances where a pensioner has a psychiatric disorder or a mental illness as a result of alcohol or drug addiction.

A trustee can be appointed, with or without the consent of the pensioner and once appointed, a trustee has full control of the pension payment.

(ii) a person responsible for administration of a trust

According to section 52ZO of the VEA, trustee has the same meaning as in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.