Appointing the Public Trustee as Executor of Your Estate

It’s vital that you appoint someone you trust to serve as the executor of your estate after you pass away. But what if there’s no one you trust to carry out this duty? Prestige Tax and Trust Services discusses appointing the public trustee as executor of your estate.

Required circumstances

We strongly suggest that you write a will before you pass away. This will ensure that your estate (money, property, possessions) will be inherited by your loved ones when you die. As part of this process, you’ll be required to name someone to serve as the executor of your estate. This is the person who’ll be responsible for administering your estate and distributing your assets to your beneficiaries.

But what if there’s no one you trust to serve as the executor of your estate? Under UK law, you can appoint the Public Trustee to act as the executor of your estate if there’s no one suitable who’s willing to act as your executor when you pass away, or if a beneficiary in your will is a vulnerable person. For example, you can name the Public Trustee as executor if one of your beneficiaries is an adult who has a mental disability which makes it impossible for them to manage their finances independently.

Role of Public Trustee

The Public Trustee can do the majority of things that any executor can do, such as applying for probate to gain legal permission to administer your estate. We should note that you can’t ask the Public Trustee to serve as your executor if your estate is insolvent e.g. possesses more debt than assets, or if administering your estate requires them to manage a business.

If you wish to pursue this course of action, you must name the Public Trustee as your executor when you write your will. After this, you must send a copy of the will to the Public Trustee, along with a letter explaining the situation. The Trustee will then decide whether to accept appointment after you die, once they’ve checked whether there’s someone suitable, willing and able to execute your will. The Public Trustee can still refuse to accept the appointment whether they find someone suitable or not, so it’s advisable to name somebody to serve as the executor of your will.

Also, if the Public Trustee does choose to serve as the executor of your estate, they’ll be paid from said estate for carrying out this duty. Specifically, they’ll subtract their fee as a percentage of the total value of your estate, before any tax (e.g. inheritance tax if your estate is worth more than £325,000 at the point of your death) is deducted. The amount the Public Trustee takes as a fee will be determined by the value of your estate at the time you pass away.

Prestige Tax and Trust Services

It’s vital that you conduct extensive research before you write your will. This will give you the information you need to make a will which accurately reflects what you wish to happen to your estate after you pass away. You should let Prestige Tax and Trust Services help, our wills team has the legal expertise required to ensure you make a will which safeguards your loved ones when you die.

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