A trust is a legal arrangement which allows a person or organisation to manage finances and/ or property for the benefit of another person. The main reason you might wish to set up a trust is to protect the interests of those who will eventually benefit from the trust.

The administration of your trust is an extremely demanding and complex task, which requires ongoing involvement and understanding of legal, taxation, investment and accounting matters. Being a trustee usually requires administration over a long period of time. Therefore, it is wise to opt for a reliable and longstanding organisation such as the Public Trustee. Our experienced team of professional solicitors, accountants and taxation experts are equipped to administer your trust.

If you would like to organise a trust with the help of the Public Trustee, please fill out our APPOINTMENT BOOKING FORM and a representative will contact you to confirm your appointment. 

Alternatively, please contact your nearest Public Trustee branch.

The Public Trustee as your Trustee

The Public Trustee will assign your trust a dedicated client account manager. They will be there to liaise with your beneficiary as they need. Also backing your client account manager will be a team of specialist solicitors, accountants and taxation experts.

How would you involve family members and carers? 

We often consult with family members and carers to make decisions about expenditure, investments and other matters relating to your beneficiary’s interests.

Who will be responsible for your trust?

Your trustee is ultimately responsible for all funds spent from the trust. A family member or carer can recommend expenditure on behalf of your beneficiary and we will take their wishes into account. However, we are still accountable by law and would require evidence to prove any payment was in the best interest of your beneficiary. At times, we might even need to present this evidence in court.

How can you advance funds from your trust? 

We have criteria for advancing funds that have been formulated over many years of managing trusts.

Each request for an ‘advance of funds’ will be carefully considered to ensure your beneficiary’s best financial interests are protected. This requires careful planning in conjunction with your family and carer.

The following steps are commonly followed to advance funds:

  1. Contact the Public Trustee for approval of the purchase.
  1. If required, obtain quotes and specific costs.
  2. Advise us of the purchase and forward receipts.

(There are other methods to advance funds which we can discuss).

Why do trustees require substantiation of expenses?

The Public Trustee requires written evidence (e.g. receipts) to justify financial transactions. This applies to all clients, their families and carers.

Unfortunately we can’t just accept the word of family members and carers. We can consider your comments in good faith, but each decision must be fully documented to ensure that the beneficiary’s interests are always protected. We ask that families and carers consider this and hope that they are not offended when asked to provide substantiation. 

What if the care or custody of the beneficiary changes?

If any changes occur to your beneficiary’s care or custody arrangements, we should be advised immediately. This can affect how we advance funds to your beneficiary.

Acting as trustee of a court awarded trust

The Public Trustee might be appointed trustee of a court awarded trust, for example:

  • Damages trusts;
  • MAIB Compensation (Minor) trusts;
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation trusts;
  • Workers Compensation trusts;
  • Workers Compensation (Deceased Worker) trusts;
  • Special Disability Trusts;
  • Unclaimed Monies (received from outside Public Trustee); and
  • Superannuation trust.

The following capital commission is charged from January 1, 2020:

On the first $100,000 or part2.75%
On the next $400,000 or part2.2%
On amounts above $500,0001.1%

Acting as trustee arising from an estate

In the case of a trust that arises from an estate, once the estate administration phase is complete, our role changes from executor or administrator to that of trustee. The nature of the administration then changes from an estate to a trust.

No further capital commission will be charged, however other costs will apply.

Appointed as a new trustee

You can request us to act as a new trustee of a trust. The request will be reviewed by our corporate solicitor prior to acceptance of that appointment.

Capital commissions will be charged on the gross value of any unrealised assets handed over to us by a former executor, administrator or trustee as follows:

(From 1 January 2020)

On the first $200,000 or part4.5%
On the next $200,000 or part3.5%
On the next $200,000 or part2.5%
On amounts above $600,0001.5%

Capital commissions on realised assets (capital and income) handed over to the Public Trustee by a former executor, administrator or trustee will incur a 2.2% fee. 

Acting as trustee for a genuine trust

A ‘genuine trust’ is established during the lifetime of a testator (a person who makes a valid will) for the benefit of a third party. We are then required to administer the Will as executor of the testator’s estate.

No capital commission will be raised in the original estate, although other costs will apply.

Other Costs that apply to trusts

Income Commission

  • The Public Trustee charges a 6.6% fee on the receipt of all income such as interest, dividends, pensions and rental income (where the Public Trustee is managing the property).
  • A 3.3% fee is charged on rental income where the Public Trustee is not managing the property.
  • If income is received from an estate administered by the Public Trustee, there is a 3.3% fee.

Investment Management Fee

  • A 1.1% per annum fee is charged on funds invested in our Common Fund or Group Investment Fund. This fee is deducted from your gross earnings before any distributions are made to your account.
  • A 1.1% per annum fee may also apply to invested funds not directly managed by the Public Trustee.

The following fees and charges may apply: 

  • account keeping fee ($13.50 per month);
  • domestic cheque drawing ($6.00) and direct credit ($3.20);
  • international bank transfers ($24.00) and international bank drafts ($32.00), excluding any 3rd party transaction and processing fees;
  • investment review fees for developing an investment strategy for the client portfolio. The fee charged is dependent upon the complexity of individual circumstances;
  • depending on the complexity of the matter a fee will be charged for the preparation and lodgment of income tax returns and other taxation services including the establishment of the acquisition details of assets for capital gains tax purposes;
  • a fee for conveyancing and other services provided in relation to the sale, purchase or transfer of a property; and/or
  • work of a particularly complex nature not covered above will be charged at an hourly rate.

Legal Services

The cost of legal services from our legal practitioners depends on how difficult the task is. The Public Trustee will not charge more than the maximum hourly attendance rate set out in the Supreme Court Rules 2000. This is currently set between $194.00 and $423.00.

Sometimes, the Public Trustee can seek outside practitioners to provide legal services. These services will be charged at the firm’s market rate.

View a list of all fees & charges here

We have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding Trusts. 

A trustee is an individual or corporation which administers the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary, in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Some of the duties of a trustee are:

  • knowing the trust and the assets subject to it;
  • obeying the terms of the trust;
  • acting impartially between the beneficiaries;
  • exercising reasonable care;
  • investing the trust fund as directed by the trust or as the law provides;
  • seeing that trust funds are paid to the right persons;
  • acting jointly when there is more than one trustee;
  • providing prompt accounts; and
  • acting gratuitously unless the trust instrument or the law says otherwise.

A trustee must not:

  • delegate his or her duties or powers; or
  • profit in any way from the trust property.

A trustee has a responsibility to protect your trust. The role of a trustee is regulated by legislation, common law and the deed or Will which creates the trust and demands prudence, impartiality and efficient administration.

A trustee’s powers include:

  • selling, leasing, buying or mortgaging property;
  • repairing and improving property;
  • insurance;
  • carrying on a business;
  • paying maintenance and advancing funds.

How the Public Trustee can help

Being a trustee is an extremely demanding task that requires a good understanding of legal, accounting, investment and taxation matters.

Because a trust is usually administered over a long period of time, it is wise to opt for a reliable and longstanding organisation such as the Public Trustee.

If you would like more information on how the Public Trustee can look after a trust, please fill out the form below and one of our friendly representatives will be in contact to confirm your appointment, or please contact your nearest Public Trustee branch.

A trust will help provide ongoing support to your loved ones, once you have gone. Trusts not only benefit minors and individuals with disabilities! If someone in your family has a spending problem or some form of addiction, this will allow their expenditure to be monitored until a certain time that you deem appropriate. Trusts can be set up for those who are going through bankruptcy or someone who anticipates a separation or divorce.

You can also specify how you would like your beneficiaries to benefit from a trust. For instance, you might want to set money aside for your grandchildren’s education. This will allow the trustee to manage the funds of your trust and monitor expenditure, to ensure the trust continues on for as long as required for your beneficiary.

Trust administration is a complex area and many issues can arise if you are inexperienced. Therefore, it is very important you seek advice from professionals such as the Public Trustee.

If you would like to know more about how a trust can suit your needs, please fill out the form below or contact your nearest Public Trustee branch.

A Trustee may be appointed in many ways including the following:

  • by a trust established under a Will (testamentary trust);
  • by the Supreme Court of Tasmania – for example when a minor (a  person under 18) or a person without legal capacity, receives damages for personal injury in a Court case; or
  • by legislation – where Parliament has provided for the protection of minors and/or persons without legal capacity who have received sums arising from the operation of statute e.g. Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1976, Workers Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 1988 and Motor Vehicles (Liabilities and Compensation) Act 1973.

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