Public Trustee

The Public Trustee may act as executor when requested to do so, but, may also act as administrator of an estate of a deceased person (with or without a will), or as trustee of a trust whether as original or substitute trustee, usually only as a last resort, and in the interests of vulnerable individuals or persons under disability, or where there are differences between executors, trustees, or beneficiaries.

The Public Trustee is an officer appointed by the Lord Chancellor under the Public Trustee Act 1906, and is a corporation sole under that name. Please see the list of statutes and regulatory instruments for a summary of the most important functions of the office.

Thus the Public Trustee may by that name:

  • be appointed executor in a will or codicil and accept probate of the will;
  • accept letters of administration (with or without will annexed);
  • with the sanction of the court, after representation has been obtained, accept the transfer of an estate for administration from the executor(s) or administrator(s), acting either solely, or jointly with any continuing executors or administrators

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If the Public Trustee thinks fit, he may, alone or jointly with any person or body of persons:

  • act in the administration of estates of small value;
  • act as custodian trustee;
  • act as ordinary trustee; or
  • be appointed to be a judicial trustee

The Public Trustee deals with all the administration required under the terms of a Will or Trust in which the Public Trustee is acting, or is being asked to act, as Executor, Trustee or Administrator. Once the estate or trust assets have been transferred to the Public Trustee, arrangements are made for income, or capital, to be distributed to the beneficiaries, and also for any necessary investment and tax work to be carried out, and for accounts of the administration to be prepared.

Clients include those who have an interest in these Wills or Trusts, either as beneficiaries entitled to receive the income or capital of the Will or Trust, or as co-trustees or co-executors.

Appointing the Public Trustee

Should you be considering appointing the Public Trustee as Executor and/or Trustee, for further information, please get in touch with us using the contact details detailed below.

Contact details

The following list of statutes and rules is not exhaustive, but gives an overview of the main functions of the office of the Public Trustee.

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General functions

Public Trustee Act 1906

Public Trustee Rules 1912, SR&O 1912 No. 348

Public Trustee (Fees) Act 1957

Public Trustee (Liability and Fees) Act 2002

Judicial Trustees Act 1896

Judicial Trustee Rules 1983 SI 1983/370

Public Trustee and Administration of Funds Act 1986

Public Trustee (Fees) Order 2008 SI 2008/611

Title on death

For further information see the Notices Affecting Land Practice Note

Section 18 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994

The Public Trustee (Notices Affecting Land) (Title on Death) Regulations 1995, SI 1995 No. 1330

The Public Trustee (Notices Affecting Land) (Title on Death) (Amendment) Regulations 2001, SI 2001 No. 3902

Public Trustee (Fees) Order 2008 SI 2008/611

Vesting legal estate pending grant

Section 9 Administration of Estates Act 1925

Common Land and land held in undivided shares

Part IV and Part V Schedule 1 Law of Property Act 1925

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Official Solicitor and Public Trustee


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