Fees and charges review public consultation
Have your say on the future of the Public Trustee's fees and charges model
The first round of public consultation closed on 13 August 2021. The Public Trustee is now considering all of the valuable feedback it has received to inform options for the future fees and charges model.
A further round of public consultation is expected to open in the coming weeks.
Background of the Review
The Public Trustee has been serving Queenslanders since 1916 and is governed by the Public Trustee Act 1978.
The Public Trustee is self-funding and operates as a corporation sole, delivering professional and accessible financial, trustee and legal services to the people of Queensland.
Their vision is to provide security and peace of mind for Queenslanders.
Their purpose is to enhance and protect the rights, dignity and interests of its customers and the community.
The Public Trustee provide professional and accessible:
- estate administration services: the Public Trustee provide executorial services when acting as executor or administrator of a deceased estate
- financial management for those with impaired capacity for decision-making: The Public Trustee assist customers with their financial needs, including budgeting and financial planning
- legal services: the Official Solicitor delivers legal services to the Public Trustee and its customers, and to the Queensland Government
- trusts administration: The Public Trustee provide trustee services for a range of trusts including testamentary trusts and family trusts
- tax and investment services: The Public Trustee provide advice, investment solutions and provision of taxation and trustee services to ensure the prudential management of funds
- life-planning services including making Wills and EPAs
- safe and secure storage of Wills and other life-planning documents
- real estate services: The Public Trustee are a fully licenced real estate agency with licenced professional staff, including auctioneers and an extensive buyer and selling network throughout Queensland. We also facilitate the sale of our customers’ motorised vehicles, goods and chattels
- trusteeship of charitable trusts including the promotion and facilitation of strategic financial welfare to identified and targeted philanthropic beneficiaries.
The Public Trustee also:
- administer unclaimed moneys for the State of Queensland: we hold unclaimed money for Queenslanders who have lost touch with the organisation that owes them the money
- manage the estates of prisoners under Part 7 of the Public Trustee Act 1978
- carry out special functions of a public nature under Part 5 of the Public Trustee Act 1978
- promote and support community education on a range of issues such as elder abuse, the importance of making a Will and appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney.
The Public Trustee’s Customers
Queensland is a diverse state, with an ageing population, an increasing population of people born overseas and broad geographical differences and a rapidly changing financial landscape. The Public Trustee’s customers come from all segments of society and have varying and disparate needs. The Public Trustee is uniquely placed to make a positive difference to the lives of Queenslanders and partner with the community in times of need.
In 2019–20 The Public Trustee:
- Made 24,462 Wills at no cost to Queenslanders
- Managed finances for 10,071 customers
- Made 2,551 Enduring Power of Attorney documents
- Administered 4,394 trusts
- Accepted 2,069 new deceased estates for administration
- Answered over 126,000 calls by the Welcome Desk
- Experienced 95 per cent overall client satisfaction for the Will preparation service
- Managed $2.75 billion total assets
- Self-funded $38.4 million in Community Service Obligations, including $29.2 million in fees rebated for customers with limited assets
- Stored over 1.13 million Wills stored in our Wills bunker.
The Public Trustee provides financial services to many Queenslanders who for various reasons need assistance in managing their financial affairs. Without support, these people may be vulnerable to exploitation or neglect. The Public Trustee provides essential financial administration support to more than 9600 Queenslanders with impaired decision-making capacity. In 2019-20, 29 per cent of the Public Trustee’s customers identified as living with an intellectual disability or living with a psychiatric disability.
The Public Trustee is one of the largest administrators of estates in Queensland. As at 20 June 2020, the Public Trustee was administering 2141 estates worth a total value of approximately $476 million.
Will-making customers can be almost anyone, from young couples through to the elderly. They may not have made a Will before and it could be a daunting experience. Each year, the Public Trustee makes more than 24,000 Wills for Queenslanders at no cost. The Public Trustee also prepared more than 2,550 enduring powers of attorney to help protect Queenslanders.
The Public Trustee is working to better understand customers through the Customers First Strategy 2021 - 2026. This is part of an ongoing commitment to put customers first in every interaction and is based on Queensland’s important human rights reforms, to become a more modern, socially and financially responsible service.
Current Charging Framework
The Public Trustee supports a range of public policy objectives for equitable access to financial and wealth management services through fee waivers or concessions. The Public Trustee self-funded $38.4 million in Community Service Obligations, including $29.2 million in fees rebated for customers with limited assets.
Fees and charges are outlined in the regulation Public Trustee (Fees and Charges Notice) (No.1) 2021 which is made under the Public Trustee Act 1978.
The Public Trustee’s current charging model was developed around 20 years ago as a broadly ‘fee for service’ model. The Public Trustee is undertaking a review of the current pricing model and is looking for input from stakeholders as to how well or otherwise the current fee structure is serving Queenslanders.
The charging framework needs to be consistent with the vision and goals of the Public Trustee to further enhance and protect the rights, dignity and interests of its customers and the community; and ensure the ongoing provision of security and peace of mind for Queenslanders.
The Public Trustee is faced with evolving demand and expectations for the way it delivers services to Queenslanders now, and in the future. To maintain the capacity and agility to successfully respond to these challenges, the Public Trustee must be financially sustainable in how it delivers services.
Some suggestions include:
- A more simplified fee structure
- Greater cost transparency for customers
- Realignment of the costs of services to the cost of providing these services
- Preserving access to the most vulnerable Queenslanders
- Greater financial sustainability to ensure that these services can continue to be delivered into the future
- Aligning the charging structure to allow the Public Trustee to develop more cost effective methods of delivery for some services