Appointing the Public Trustee

We often receive many enquiries about the advantages and disadvantages of appointing the public trustee as an executor and trustee in Wills. In this article we will explore briefly some of those advantages and disadvantages to help you make a decision when it comes time for you to make your Will.

In NSW, the public trustee is now called the NSW Trustee and Guardian – a merger between the Public Trustee NSW and the Office of the Protective Commissioner (1 July 2009).

The NSW Trustee and Guardian have four main roles, being:

  1. Will Making
  2. Estate Administration
  3. Corporate and Individual Tasks
  4. Powers of Attorney.

The NSW Trustee and Guardian can assist you with drafting your Will for free so long as they are appointed the executor and trustee in your Will. As they have been around for a long time they are well experienced in drafting Wills. There are also benefits associated with them being your executor and trustee – as they are not related to you or your beneficiaries, they are more likely to be impartial and will follow your Will to the letter.

However, allowing the NSW Trustee and Guardian to draft your Will and appointing them as your executor and trustee does have its disadvantages. The primary disadvantage is that as they are your executor and trustee, they are entitled to be reimbursed for their costs in administrating your estate. Some of these costs will depend on the value of your estate, and are assessed at a percentage of the value of your estate. Naturally, some of these costs may be saved if you appoint a beneficiary or a person related to you as the executor or trustee of your estate.

Having an impartial organisation administrating your estate can also be disadvantage in some situations, as they may not understand your underlying intentions or your family situation when drafting your Will. It is in such situations that having a family member as your executor and trustee, a person who understands you and your particular way of thinking, will certainly be more beneficial than having the NSW Trustee and Guardian administrate your estate.

In summary, the advantages of having the NSW Trustee and Guardian appointed as your executor and trustee are:

  • Free Will drafting
  • Experience in managing estates
  • Independent and impartial

The disadvantages of having the NSW Trustee and Guardian appointed as your executor and trustee are:

  • Costs based on a percentage of your estate
  • Not likely to understand your particular family situation

When drafting your Will you should take all these matters into consideration. To find out more about Will drafting please give us a call or use the quick contact form located on this blog.