People who meet Gail Stevens for the first time are sometimes a little overwhelmed at the energy she radiates. An experienced Perpetual Guardian Client Manager, who secretly takes pride in the strong relationships her clients admire her for. Her clients also describe her as a strong-willed and tenacious individual who ‘never gives up at finding the best possible outcomes’ for them. One may describe the day that Gail and Sarah* met, as almost serendipitous. Gail recollects, “I remember meeting Sarah around a year ago. She struck me as a young at heart, middle-aged independent woman. Sarah would take life by the horns and brush off her problems with a wicked sense of humour”. The relationship started back in 2003 when Sarah’s parents died, she and her brother Matt* were encouraged to set up Trusts with Perpetual Guardian. As part of both Trusts, Perpetual Guardian also ensured Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) would be arranged, as well as Wills for both. Part of the service included managing the Trust’s assets and the purchase of a property within Sarah’s Trust. Then fate stepped in for Sarah with a bit more than any one person could manage.
Sarah’s health started deteriorating and she required extra care which was being funded by her Trust. The cost of care soon escalated to a point where the Trust couldn’t foot the bill from existing liquid assets and the trust property would need to be sold, Gail explains, “At this time, I was trying to find a suitable retirement facility that would cater for Sarah’s needs but allow her to continue to be independent”.
But then life happened, “So, at the beginning of this year, Sarah had an accident which saw her in hospital for a few months”, continues Gail. This compounding incident made Gail realise that she would not be able to continue with her current lifestyle. Around this time, Sarah was moved from hospital into a rehabilitation centre. She couldn’t stay at the centre forever but also couldn’t move to an apartment anymore.
Planning weathers providence
Gail had to scout for a suitable care facility to provide Sarah the care she needed. “We found her a suitable retirement village which also offered hospital care”, says Gail. Because Sarah had an EPA with Perpetual Guardian as well as her Trust, Gail was able to assist Sarah with this and arrange the necessary transfers from rehabilitation to the rest home. “The money from the sale of the trust property is sitting in the Trust and as Trustee, Perpetual Guardian is now considering an investment strategy that will best fit the requirements for Sarah’s care and lifestyle, as well as the circumstances of the other beneficiaries”, explains Gail.
“Since Sarah is currently wheelchair-bound, I’m relieved to admit that my only concerns for her these days, are which library books to get her before our visits,” says Gail with a cheeky grin on her face.
* The names of the clients in this article have been changed to protect the privacy of the parties involved.