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Equity Trustees doing exactly what you wanted long after your gone

It took empathy rather than bureaucracy to turn one man's final years around.

When Equity Trustees' Trust Manager Trish Harvey left a personal note under Keith’s door at a routine house inspection last year, it began a journey that changed the course of his life.

The Melbourne-based man, who was living in a property owned by his parent’s trust, felt ashamed that he had let its condition deteriorate. 

“He was ignoring our letters and not responding to knocks on the door," Equity Trustees Senior Estates and Trusts Solicitor, Trustee and Wealth Services, Suzie Willis, said. 

It turned out Keith suffered from hoarding tendencies and wasn't coping with living alone.

"So the trust manager ended up going around and knocking on the door herself, slipping a note under the door. He was very embarrassed and very unsettled about what might occur from this inspection." 

Keith was isolated from the community and was afraid to engage with people, leaving him at risk of falling through the cracks in the system. 

It was Trish's empathy, expressed through a series of letters, which helped to gain his trust. He eventually allowed other service providers to help him out. 

After getting cleaners to sort through Keith’s possessions over several weeks, Equity Trustees sought professional advice to establish a framework to help Keith develop new habits. 

After some introspection and self-development, he was on a new journey to get his life back on track. 

One day, he came into the city to visit Trish and bought a phone so that she could contact him. He even made plans with a solicitor to do his own estate planning.

“Keith was out engaging with people and engaging with life again,” Suzie said. 

Equity Trustees General Manager, Estates, Trusts & Tax, Aaron Tunks, said he was proud of the way Trish handled the situation as it not only dealt with the risk issues but changed the course of Keith's life. 

“That sounds dramatic, but I have no doubt if this didn't happen he would have been on a slippery slope to being a complete recluse and hoarder,” he says. “His parents, who set up the trust, would be quite proud. That’s exactly what they would’ve wanted us to do.”

Sadly, Keith recently and unexpectedly passed away, but we can be satisfied that his last months were made better by the care and empathy of Trish Harvey.

This article and more appears in Edition 4 of Generation magazine – View this edition here and previous ones.

Names changed to protect privacy.