Should your clients appoint the Public Trustee as an executor?

When making, or amending, a will for your clients careful consideration needs to be given as to who will be the executor(s) of the estate upon death. One option could be to appoint the Public Trustee as executor.

The Public Trustee can do most things that any other executor can do. However, the appointment can only be made if there’s no suitable person who’s willing, and able, to act as executor at that time or the person who will benefit from the will is vulnerable.

In considering whether to appoint the Public Trustee as executor, you must also consider that the Public Trustee cannot act if the estate involves managing a business or if the estate is insolvent.

The process is quite simple and involves sending a copy of the will to the trustee – with the Public Trustee named as executor – together with a letter explaining the situation.

Upon death the trustee will decide whether or not to accept the appointment, by checking whether anyone else is suitable, willing and able to execute the will.

However, even if there isn’t anyone suitable to act as executor, the Public Trustee may still refuse to accept the appointment.

If they do accept the appointment, the Public Trustee will be paid out of the estate by taking a percentage of the total value of the estate before any tax is deducted.

What do you think about appointing the Public Trustee as executor? Have you ever done this for your clients? In what circumstances would you advise that the Public Trustee be appointed? Do you think this is only an option as last resort?

Today's Wills and Probate