The Public Trustee is a statutory corporation under the control of the Minister for Consumer Affairs. Its power includes administering deceased estates. The trustee charges for work done as an executor for its clients.
When deciding whether to appoint the Public Trustee (or any trustee company) as executor, or to appoint an individual who may need to employ a lawyer to administer the estate, it is of value to compare the potential fees and charges of the Public Trustee with what a lawyer may charge.
The cost of administering an estate depends on the value of the estate and the amount of work involved.
For any estate valued over $5000, the rate charged by the Public Trustee is 4.4% (GST inclusive) of the value of the estate up to $200 000. The rate reduces for that part of an estate above $200 000, but an additional lump sum is also charged for estates over $200 000. There are minimum set rates for an estate less than $5000. See the Public Trustee's publication 'Fees and Charges'.
Note that the value of the estate for calculating the commission is the value of the assets before debts are taken into account.
Different rates apply to the transfer of a matrimonial home to a surviving spouse and to the collection of rent and other income. Further charges may be made for the preparation of documents or for other services additional to a normal administration. There is no charge for joint tenancy property.
The Public Trustee drafts wills free of charge provided it is appointed as executor.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.