The real cost of getting a Public Trustee Will

The Public Trustee plays an integral role for Australians, especially when there is no one else to handle the affairs of a deceased person. However, using the Public Trustee services can come with unexpected costs and it is important to weigh up your options before starting your Estate Planning. It is also important to consider the Public Trustee’s varying fees and processes across the different states when making your decision. Depending on what state you reside in, it is recommended to review the following fees when considering a Public Trustee Will.

· If the Public Trustee has no up-front fees for a Will, check the potential fees charged to administer your Estate.

· The Public Trustee may charge a fee-for-service to handle deceased estates; this is based on the number and type of assets and liabilities as well as the number of beneficiaries.

· The Public Trustee may charge a percentage commission.

Public Trustee Online Calculator

The QLD Public Trustee does not go into specific details on its website in terms of what clients can expect to pay, or how exactly they calculate their fees. It states it calculates the fees based on factors such as the number and type of assets, liabilities etc. in the Estate, and how many “units of effort” they exerted when carrying out your Estate, which is not very clear.

It does however, have an online tool to calculate the estimated fees and charges to administer your own Estate. So, we tried it ourselves, and the results were disappointing – yet not at all surprising. We based the estimate on the following estate details:

Keeping the Estate as simple as possible using the most conservative of figures (lowest Estate value threshold; no liabilities), the cost is estimated at a high $6,913.15 to $7,955.90. However, this Estate estimate is unrealistic, as unless you have been living in a closet for the past 20 years, you would know that it does not take many assets to build an Estate worth over $500,000 considering the median house price in Great Brisbane as of December 2019 is $577,664 (

So taking this into account, and if you throw in a few more factors in the cost estimate that we did not include in our very simple example, but that will result in more “units of effort” from the QLD Public Trustee, such as: having any life insurance policies; mortgages owed to the estate; investments in shares, managed funds, term deposit funds; benefits or claims; income; and liabilities, you can easily see how the seemingly appealing ‘free Will’ can snowball into the five and sometimes even six digit mark once you die.

State by State Comparison

Below is a table of the estimated costs involved in administering a Will with the Public Trustee in each state.

Wills & Estates on the other hand, offers no cost, no obligation initial appointments so that you can find out where you stand and exactly how much it will cost you to get your Will and/or Estate Plan sorted. We also offer fixed fees and payment plans - your wishes, your way. Don't wait until it's too late, contact us today!

Phone 1800 22 33 90


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