Public Trustee Act 1906

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1906 c. 55

Public Trustee Act, 1906

(6 Edw. 7.) CHAPTER 55.

An Act to provide for the appointment of a Public Trustee and to amend the Law relating to the administration of Trusts.

[21st December 1906]

B E it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Establishment of Public Trustee .

Establishment of Public Trustee .

S-1 Office of public trustee.

1 Office of public trustee.

(1) There shall be established the office of public trustee.

(2) The public trustee shall be a corporation sole under that name, with perpetual succession and an official seal, and may sue and be sued under the above name like any other corporation sole, but any instruments sealed by him shall not, by reason of his using a seal, be rendered liable to a higher stamp duty than if he were an individual.

Powers and Duties of Public Trustee .

Powers and Duties of Public Trustee .

S-2 General powers and duties of public trustee.

2 General powers and duties of public trustee.

(1) Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of this Act and rules made thereunder, the public trustee may, if he thinks fit—

(a ) act in the administration of estates of small value;

(b ) act as custodian trustee;

(c ) act as an ordinary trustee;

(d ) be appointed to be a judicial trustee;

(e ) be appointed to be the administrator of the property of a convict under the Forfeiture Act, 1870 .

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, and to the rules made thereunder, the public trustee may act either alone or jointly with any person or body of persons in any capacity to which he may be appointed in pursuance of this Act, and shall have all the same powers, duties, and liabilities, and be entitled to the same rights and immunities and be subject to the control and orders of the court, as a private trustee acting in the same capacity.

(3) The public trustee may decline, either absolutely or except on the prescribed conditions, to accept any trust, but he shall not decline to accept any trust on the ground only of the shall value of the trust property.

(4) The public trustee shall not accept any trust which involves the management or carrying on of any business, except in the cases in which he may be authorised to do so by rules made under this Act, nor any trust under a deed of arrangement for the benefit of creditors, nor the administration of any estate known or believed by hint to be insolvent.

(5) The public trustee shall not accept any trust exclusively for religious or charitable purposes, and nothing in this Act contained, or in the rules to be made under the powers in this Act contained, shall abridge or affect the powers or duties of the official trustee of charity lands or official trustees of charitable funds.

In the Administration of small Estates.


S-3 Administration of small estates.

3 Administration of small estates.

(1) Any person who in the opinion of the public trustee would be entitled to apply to the court for an order for the administration by the court of an estate, the gross capital value whereof is proved to the satisfaction of the public trustee to be less than one thousand pounds, may apply to the public trustee to administer the estate, and, where any such application is made and it appears to the public trustee that the persons beneficially entitled are persons of small means, the public trustee shall administer the estate, unless he sees good reason for refusing to do so.

(2) On the public trustee undertaking, by declaration in writing signed and sealed by him, to administer the estate the trust property other than stock shall, by virtue of this Act, vest in him, and the right to transfer or call for the transfer of any stock forming part of the estate shall also vest in him, in like manner as if vesting orders had been made for the purpose by the High Court under the Trustee Act, 1893 , and that Act shall apply accordingly. As from such vesting any trustee entitled under the trust to administer the estate shall be discharged from all liability attaching to the administration, except in respect of past acts:

Provided that—

(a ) the public trustee shall not exercise the right of himself transferring the stock without the leave of the court; and

(b ) this subsection shall not apply to any copyhold land forming part of the estate, but the public trustee shall, as respects such land, have the like powers as if he had been appointed by the court under section thirty-three of the Trustee Act, 1893, to convey the land, and section thirty-four of that Act shall apply accordingly.

(3) For the purposes of the administration the public trustee may exercise such of the administrative powers and authorities of the High Court as may be conferred on him by rules under this Act, subject to such conditions as may be imposed by the rules.

(4) Rules shall be made under this Act for enabling the public trustee to take the opinion of the High Court on any question arising in the course of any administration without judicial proceedings, and otherwise for making the procedure under this section simple and inexpensive.

(5) Where proceedings have been instituted in any court for the administration of an estate, and by reason of the small value of the estate it appears to the court that the estate can be more economically administered by the public trustee than by the court, or that for any other reason it is expedient that the estate should be administered by the public trustee instead of the court, the court may order that the estate shall be administered by the public trustee, and thereupon (subject to any directions by the court) this section shall apply as if the administration of the estate had been undertaken by the public trustee in pursuance of this section.

As Custodian Trustee.


S-4 Custodian trustee.

4 Custodian trustee.

(1) Subject to rules under this Act the public trustee may, if he consents to act as such, and whether or not the number of trustees has been reduced below the original number, be appointed to be custodian trustee of any trust—

(a ) by order of the court made on the application of any person on whose application the court may order the appointment of a new trustee; or

(b ) by the testator, settlor, or other creator of any trust; or

(c ) by the person having power to appoint new trustees.

(2) Where the public trustee is appointed to be custodian trustee of any trust—

(a ) The trust property shall be transferred to the custodian trustee as if he were sole trustee, and for that purpose vesting orders may, where necessary, be made under the Trustee Act, 1893:

(b ) The management of the trust property and the exercise of any power or discretion exerciseable by the trustees under the trust shall remain vested in the trustees other than the custodian trustee (which trustees are herein-after referred to as the managing trustees):

(c ) As between the custodian trustee and the managing trustees, and subject and without prejudice to the rights of any other persons, the custodian trustee shall have the custody of all securities and documents of title relating to the trust property, but the managing trustee shall have free access thereto and be entitled to take copies thereof or extracts therefrom:

(d ) The custodian trustee shall concur in and perform all acts necessary to enable the managing trustees to exercise their powers of management or any other power or discretion vested in them (including the power to pay money or securities into court), unless the matter in which he is requested to concur is a breach of trust, or involves a personal liability upon him in respect of calls or otherwise, but, unless he so concurs, the custodian trustee shall not be liable for any act or default on the part of the managing trustees or any of them:

(e ) All sums payable to or out of the income or capital of the trust property shall be paid to or by the custodian trustee: Provided that the custodian trustee may allow the dividends and other income derived from the trust property to be paid to the managing trustees or to such person as they direct, or into such bank to the credit of such person as they may direct, and in such case shall be exonerated from seeing to the application thereof and shall not be answerable for any loss or misapplication thereof:

(f ) The power of appointing new trustees, when exerciseable by the trustees, shall be exerciseable by the managing trustees alone, but the custodian trustee shall have the same power of applying to the court for the appointment of a new trustee as any other trustee:

(g ) In determining the number of trustees for the purposes of the Trustee Act, 1893, the custodian trustee shall not be reckoned as a trustee.

(h ) The custodian trustee, if he acts in good faith, shall not be liable for accepting as correct and acting upon the faith of any written statement by the managing trustees as to any birth, death, marriage, or other matter of pedigree or relationship, or other matter of fact, upon which the title to the trust property or any part thereof may depend, nor for acting upon any legal advice obtained by the managing trustees independently of the custodian trustee:

(i ) The court may, on the application of either the custodian trustee, or any of the managing trustees, or of any beneficiary, and on proof to their satisfaction that it is the general wish of the beneficiaries, or that on other grounds it is expedient, to terminate the custodian trusteeship, make an order for that purpose, and the court may thereupon make such vesting orders and give such directions as under the circumstances may seem to...

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