Woman ruled unfit to have left house to neighbours

AN ILL, elderly woman who told hospital staff she wished she had never left her house to her neighbours in her will has been ruled unfit to have made the decision.

Despite the protests of the neighbouring couple, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has placed the 88-year-old in the Public Guardian's care and handed the Public Trustee the reigns over her finances.

QCAT, after a hearing in Bundaberg, also found the couple's home unfit for the woman to live in, with cars across the front yard and clutter throughout the house.

The woman's home was also ruled unfit for the three of them.

The woman was admitted to Bundaberg Hospital and diagnosed with a host of medical problems, including depression, and had weighed 36.5kg.

A judgment published this month states hospital staff were concerned she would check herself out and also concerned when she made the will comments after the couple took her to the hospital.

The Burnett region couple lived near the woman and had essentially become her carers, also helping her with house maintenance and chores.

They had also helped her former husband before he died two years ago.

Hospital staff became even more concerned when the couple checked the woman out against their advice.

They had to warn the couple they would get the police involved if they did not bring the woman back to the hospital.

Although the woman wanted to leave the hospital, QCAT found it concerning the couple were willing to take her view over an expert opinion and did not realise the woman's mental limitations.

The woman submitted a short letter to the tribunal explaining the couple were her family and she wanted them to look after and make decisions for her.

QCAT found it was clear the couple were fond of the woman and had a genuine desire to help her.

But the tribunal also found she did not have a full understanding of the court proceedings.

QCAT ruled the decision should be revisited in two years and perhaps then it would be appropriate for the couple to be in a decision-making role.

- APN NEWSDESK



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