The Probate Company was established in 1996 by the Law Consumers Association with the same objectives the Association had in 1979 when it started the Property Transfer Company in respect of conveyancing, i.e., to break the monopoly of the legal profession and put real competition into the market for the assistance of executors (and administrators) of deceased estates.
In providing competition, the Probate Company is generally ready to file the application in the Supreme Court on the 15th day after receiving the information which is required to complete the forms from the client. From then the time to get the grant of probate is in the hands of the Probate Registry. On receipt of the grant the executor takes full control of the estate and in most cases it can be wound up quickly. The Probate Company also includes in its service the transfer of any real estate to either the executor pending sale or to the beneficiaries.
The operation of the Probate Company also challenges the role of the NSW Public Trustee (from 2009 merged with the Office of the Protective Commissioner) which engages in dubious advertising to promote their services on the basis of preparing ‘free‘ wills. It is a hidden requirement of the ‘free’ will that the will-maker appoints the NSW Public Trustee as the executor of their estate. The consumer then becomes a hostage of the Trustee. This becomes apparent on the death of the will-maker and the next of kin and or beneficiaries have no influence on the manner in which the estate is managed. The estate then comes under the fee structure of the Trustee which even solicitors agree is excessive. The fees are disclosed on the website but at the end of a page and not in dollar value, a percentage only is estimated. From July 2016, the fees will change, a link is provided here to the details http://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/verve/_resources/Fee_changes_leaflet_1_July_2016.pdf
It is becoming apparent that consumers should get independent advice on the appointment of the NSW Public Trustee as their executor as they must if they appoint a solicitor. See Rule 11 – News Room page.