Chapter 13:01 - Public Trustee

Link to law: http://legalaffairs.gov.gy/information/laws-of-guyana/495-chapter-1301-public-trustee/file

L.R.O. 1/2012
LAWS OF GUYANA
PUBLIC TRUSTEE ACT
CHAPTER 13:01
Act
15 of 1910
Amended by
9 of 1912
16 of 1918
1 – 21 ... 1/2012 (inclusive) by L.R.O.
Pages Authorised
Current Authorised Pages
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Index
of
Subsidiary Legislation
Page
Public Trustee Rules 15
(R.12/7/1911)
Res. of Leg. XXI/1956, 4of 1972


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PUBLIC TRUSTEE ACT
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION
1. Short title
2. Interpretation.
APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE
3. Office.
4. Official Receiver to be Public Trustee till other appointment made.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE
5. General powers and duties.
(1) In the administration of estates
6. Administration of estates.
(2) As Executor
7. Appointment as executor.
(3) As Guardian, or Committee, or Receiver
8. As guardian and committee.
(4) In the Administration of Absentee’s Estates
9. Creditor may apply to Public Trustee to administer estate of
absentee.
10. Absentee to be communicated with if possible.
11. Proceedings on taking possession of estate of absent owner.
FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
12. General revenue chargeable with liability incurred by Public
Trustee.
13. (1) Publication of list of moneys unclaimed for six months.
(3) Right of persons to moneys paid to Accountant General barred.
CHAPTER 13:01
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SECTION
(4) Moneys paid to Accountant General under Indian Labour Act.
14. (1) Moneys received by Public Trustee to be paid into bank.
(2) Payments to be made as directed by the Minister.
15. Sales at public auction.
SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS
16. Appeal to the Court.
17. Powers of Public Trustee.
18. Rules.
____________________________ 1929 Ed.
c. 245
1953 Ed.
c. 48 _______________________________________________________
15 of 1910 An Act to provide for the appointment of a Public Trustee.
[10th SEPTEMBER, 1910]
Short title.
Interpretation.

1. This Act may be cited as the Public Trustee Act.
2. In this Act—
“Court” means the High Court or any judge thereof;
“estate” includes every description of movable and
immovable property, goods, chattels, money, securities
for money, and all writings relating to or evidencing any
right or title to any property, and all rights of action and
claims;
“private executor or administrator” means an executor or
administrator other than the Public Trustee;
“private guardian or committee, or receiver” means a
PUBLIC TRUSTEE ACT
CHAPTER 13:01
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Office.


Official
Receiver to be
Public Trustee
till other
appointment
made.
c. 12:22

General powers
and duties.

guardian or committee, or receiver, other than the Public
Trustee;
“trust” includes every case where any person acts as executor,
guardian, committee, administrator, receiver, or
sequestrator, and every case where any person is
appointed by the Court, or under any Act, to administer
the property of another person for his benefit;
“will” has the same meaning as in the Wills Act.
APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE
3. (1) There shall be a Public Trustee for the purposes
of this Act.
(2) The Public Trustee shall be a body corporate
under that name with perpetual succession, and may sue and
be sued thereunder.
4. Unless and until some person is appointed to be the
Public Trustee, the Official Receiver appointed under the
Official Receiver Act shall be the Public Trustee, and anyone
lawfully discharging the duties of Official Receiver under that
Act, shall have all the rights, powers and liabilities, and may
discharge any of the duties, of the Public Trustee.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE
5. (1) Subject to and in accordance with this Act, the
Public Trustee may, if he thinks fit—
(a) act in the administration of the estates
of deceased persons;
(b) act as executor or administrator of a
will;

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Administration
of estates.
(c) act as guardian or committee, or
receiver, of the property of any infant
or other person under disability, as
the case may be; and
(d) take possession of and administer the
estate of any person who is absent
from Guyana and who is not fully
represented by any attorney in
Guyana, and who has left debts
unpaid.
(2) Subject to this Act, 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 person 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 a trust on the
ground only of the small 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 when acting under section 11, or except in
the cases in which he may be authorised to do so by rules
made hereunder, or any trust under a deed of arrangement
for the benefit of creditors.
(1) In the administration of estates
6. (1) Anyone, who, in the opinion of the Public
Trustee, would be entitled to apply to the Court for the
appointment of an administrator of the estate of a deceased
person, may apply to the Public Trustee to administer the
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Appointment
as executor.
estate, and 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 by him and deposited in the
Deeds Registry to administer the estate, he shall have the
same power as if he had been appointed by a last will of the
deceased person to be executor.
(3) For the purposes of the administration the
Public Trustee may exercise those administrative powers and
authorities of the High Court which may be conferred upon
him by rules under this Act, subject to the conditions imposed
by the rules.
(4) Rules shall be made under this Act for enabling
the Public Trustee to take the opinion of the 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 any other person, or that for any other reason
it is expedient that the estate should be administered by him
instead of by any other person, the Court may order that the
estate shall be administered by him, and thereupon (subject to
any directions by the Court) this section shall apply as if the
administration of the estate had been undertaken by him in
pursuance of this section.
(2) As Executor
7. The Public Trustee, by that name or any other
sufficient description, may be appointed executor of a will by
the testator, in the same manner as if he were a private
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As guardian
and committee.

Creditor may
apply to Public
Trustee to
administer
estate of
absentee.

Absentee to be
communicated
with if possible.
executor and in that case he shall have the same powers as if
he were a private executor.
(3) As Guardian, or Committee, or Receiver
8. The Public Trustee may, by that name or any other
sufficient description, be appointed by will or by order of the
Court guardian, or committee, or receiver, of the property of
any infant or other person under disability, in the same
manner as if he were a private person and in those cases he
shall have the same powers as if he were a private guardian,
or committee, or receiver.
(4) In the Administration of Absentee’s Estates
9. (1) Any creditor of a person absent from Guyana
and not represented by any attorney in Guyana appointed
under a duly registered power of attorney, may apply to the
Public Trustee to take possession of and administer the estate
of the absent person.
(2) Upon the application being made, and upon the
Public Trustee being satisfied that the person is so absent and
unrepresented as aforesaid, and that the applicant is bona fide
his creditor, the Public Trustee may take possession of the
estate; but the Public Trustee shall not take possession of the
estate unless he is satisfied that the assets thereof are probably
sufficient to defray the cost of taking possession thereof and
administering it.
10. The Public Trustee before taking possession under
this Act of the property of an absent person who is known
and with whom he can communicate, shall communicate in
writing with that person, and shall not interfere, except in
case of an emergency which in his opinion makes it necessary
to take possession of the estate for the protection of the
creditors of the absentee, and in that case he shall take
immediate possession.
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Proceedings on
taking
possession of
estate of absent
owner.

11. (1) Where the Public Trustee takes possession of
the estate or property of the absent person, he shall give
immediate intimation thereof by notice published in the
Gazette and in one newspaper at least three times, with an
interval of a week between each publication.
(2) The Public Trustee shall use due diligence to
ascertain where the absent person is and his place of
residence and address, and, if they can be ascertained, shall
use due diligence to inform him that the Public Trustee has so
taken possession, and shall require him to appoint an
attorney in Guyana to represent his interests.
(3) Where the place of residence and address of the
person cannot be ascertained, the Public Trustee shall apply
to the Court for directions.
(4) Where the person refuses or neglects, without
sufficient cause, to appoint an attorney in Guyana within a
reasonable time after being required to do so, the Public
Trustee shall apply to the Court for directions.
(5) Where the Public Trustee applies to the Court
under this section, the Court, if satisfied—
(a) that the place of residence and
address of the person cannot be
ascertained; or
(b) that he has been afforded sufficient
opportunity to enable him to appoint
an attorney in Guyana and neglects to
do so,
shall direct that the estate or property shall be forthwith
realised, and after the expiration of the time fixed by the
Court the Public Trustee shall deal with the proceeds and
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c. 12:21
General
revenue
chargeable
with liability
incurred by
Public Trustee.
distribute them amongst the creditors of the person in the
same manner as if he had been adjudged insolvent.
(6) Where the Court is not so satisfied, or where
the person is under any disability, the Court shall give any
directions the circumstances may require.
(7) Until the Public Trustee receives directions
from the Court, he shall administer the estate or property
according to the usual legal course of administration in
Guyana by attorneys of absent parties:
Provided that, where it appears that the owner has
committed an act of insolvency or that the claims on the estate
exceed the assets, the Public Trustee shall forthwith apply to
the Court, and the Court, if satisfied of the fact, shall
thereupon adjudge the estate to be insolvent, and it shall then
be administered not under this Act but under, and in
accordance with, the Insolvency Act as if the owner thereof
had been adjudged insolvent.
FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
12. (1) The State shall be liable to make good all sums
required to discharge any liability which the Public Trustee, if
he were a private trustee, executor, or administrator, would
be personally liable to discharge, except where the liability is
one to which neither he nor any of his officers has in any way
contributed, and which neither he nor any of his officers
could, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, have averted,
and in that case the Public Trustee shall not, nor shall the
State, be subject to any liability.
(2) All sums payable in pursuance of this section
are hereby charged on and shall be paid out of the
Consolidated Fund.
13. (1) The Public Trustee shall, in the months of
list of moneys
Publication of

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unclaimed for
six months.

Right of
persons to
moneys paid to
Accountant
General barred.

Moneys paid to
Accountant
General under
Indian Labour
Act.
c. 98:02
Moneys
received by
Public Trustee
to be paid into
bank.
February and August in each year, prepare and publish a list
of all moneys in his hands which have been unclaimed for six
months and upwards, and shall publish therewith a notice
calling on all persons desiring to claim any of those moneys to
establish their claim within five years from the date when the
moneys came into the hands of the Public Trustee, and that
date shall be expressed and set forth in the notice.
(2) If no claim to any of the moneys is made and
established with the time specified, they shall be paid to the
Accountant General.
(3) All moneys paid over by the Public Trustee to
the Accountant General, as provided by this section, shall
become the property of the State and all right, title, and
interest of every person in and to them shall be barred:
Provided that nothing herein contained shall be
construed as in any way affecting the power of the National
Assembly to authorise the payment of any sum of money
paid over to the Accountant General under this Act to anyone
whom they may consider to have an equitable claim thereto,
notwithstanding that all claims to payment of the money may
be barred in law.
(4) The last preceding subsection shall apply to all
moneys paid over by the Official Receiver to the Accountant
General under section 229 of the Indian Labour Act, and
which remain unclaimed for five years.
14. (1) All moneys received by the Public Trustee or
Official Receiver on behalf of any trusts or estates
administered by him, or received from an assignee in
insolvency, shall, as soon after the receipt thereof as is
practicable, be paid into the bank or banks from time to time
directed by the Minister responsible for finance.
(2) All payments by the Public Trustee or Official
made as
Payments to be
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directed by the
Minister.

Sales at public
auction.

Appeal to the
Court.

Powers of
Public Trustee.
Receiver of those moneys shall be made in the manner from
time to time directed by the Minister responsible for finance
in general instructions or regulations.
15. (1) Where it becomes necessary to sell at public
auction any property belonging to an estate, trust, or
company, which is being administered by the Official
Receiver or Public Trustee under any Act other than an Act
relating to insolvency, the property may be sold by the
Official Receiver or Public Trustee personally, or by any
officer or clerk of his department authorised by him.
(2) The Official Receiver and Public Trustee may
charge a commission of three per cent on the proceeds of the
sale.
SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS
16. (1) A person aggrieved by any act or omission or
decision of the Public Trustee in relation to any trust or
administration may apply to the Court, and the Court may
make any order in the matter it thinks just.
(2) Subject to rules of court, an application under
this section shall be made to a judge in chambers.
17. (1) The Public Trustee shall not, nor shall any of
his officers, act under this Act for reward, except as hereby
provided.
(2) The Public Trustee, subject to the rules made
under this Act, may employ for the purposes of any trust or
administration the attorneys-at-law, bankers, accountants,
and brokers, or other persons, whom he considers necessary.
(3) Where a bond or security would be required
from a private individual upon the grant to him of
administration, or upon his appointment to act in any
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capacity, the Public Trustee, if administration is granted to
him, or if he is appointed to act in that capacity, shall not be
required to give bond or security, but shall be subject to the
same liabilities and duties as if he had done so.
(4) The entry of the Public Trustee by that name in
the books of a company shall not constitute notice of a trust,
and a company shall not be entitled to object to enter the
name of the Public Trustee on its books by reason only that
the Public Trustee is a corporation, and in dealings with
property the fact that the person or one of the persons dealt
with is the Public Trustee shall not of itself constitute notice of
a trust.
RULES
18. Subject to negative resolution of the National
Assembly, the Minister shall make rules for carrying into
effect the objects of this Act, and in particular for all or any of
the following purposes:
(a) prescribing the trusts,
administrations, or duties the Public
Trustee is authorised to accept or
undertake, and the security, if any, to
be given by him and his officers;
(b) the transfer to and from him of any
property;
(c) the accounts to be kept and an audit
thereof;
(d) the establishment and regulation of
any branch office;
(e) excluding any trusts or
administrations from the operation of
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this Act, or any part thereof;
(f) the form and manner in which notices
under this Act shall be given; and
(g) the fees, whether by way of
percentage or otherwise, to be
charged in respect of the duties of the
Public Trustee.
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SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION
_________________
R. 12/7/1911
Res. Of Leg.
Co. XX1/1956
4 of 1972
PUBLIC TRUSTEE RULES
made under section 18
Citation. 1. These Rules may be cited as the Public Trustee
Rules.

Authorised
trusts.
TRUSTS AND ADMINISTRATIONS
2. The Public Trustee may if he thinks fit accept and
undertake any trust, administration or duty which he is
authorised to accept or undertake under the Act, with the
following provisos:—
(a) He shall be bound to accept any
appointment made by the Court
under the Act.
(b) When an application is made to
administer the estate of a deceased
person as provided by section 6 of the
Act the Public Trustee is authorised to
undertake such administration—
(i) where all the heirs join in the
application;
(ii) where the heirs are unknown;
(iii) where the heirs are absent from
Guyana and unrepresented;
(iv) where the heirs are under
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Application.

Deposit of
guarantee may
be required.
disability;
(v) where their whereabouts are
unknown; or
(vi) in any case in which the Court
would in the opinion of the
Public Trustee be empowered
to appoint an administrator
under the Deceased Persons
Estates’ Administration Act.
(c) Save and except as provided by
section 5(4) of the Act, and by this
rule he shall not accept or undertake
any trust, administration or duty
which involves the management or
carrying on of any business except
where such management or carrying
on is necessary only for the beneficial
winding up of such business.
3. (1) Any application to the Public Trustee under
section 6(1) or 9(1) of the Act shall be in writing and
addressed to the Public Trustee at his office.
(2) On receipt of the application the Public Trustee
may require to be supplied to him such evidence as to the
particulars and value of the estate, the names of the persons
interested or indebted to the estate and such other
information relating thereto as he may consider it advisable to
obtain in any particular case, and he may if he thinks fit call
upon any such persons to state any objection they may have
to his undertaking the administration of such estate.
4. The Public Trustee may require as a condition to his
accepting the administration of any trust or estate that a
deposit should be made with him of, or a guarantee given to
his satisfaction for, the amount of any expenses which he may
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Withdrawal.

Appointment
by the Court.

Security by
Public Trustee.
Separate
account.
c. 12:01
Inspection of
register and the
taking of copies
of any entry.
be likely to be put to, and any costs he may incur or be
ordered to pay by reason of his undertaking the
administration of any such trust or estate.
5. The Public Trustee may at any time for good and
sufficient reason withdraw from the administration of any
trust or estate.
6. The last three preceding rules shall not apply when
the Public Trustee is appointed by the Court
SECURITY
7. Security shall be given by the Public Trustee and
such of his officers as the Minister responsible for finance may
direct for the due performance of their duties, and for the due
accounting for and payment of all moneys received by them
in pursuance of the Act and these Rules. The security shall be
for such sum and shall be given in such manner and form as
the said Minister may order in each case, and the said
Minister may at any time require the amount or nature of any
such security to be varied.
ACCOUNTS
8. A separate account shall be kept of every trust or
estate administered by the Public Trustee.
9. The provisions of section 46 of the Deceased
Persons Estates Administration Act shall not apply to the
Public Trustee when administering any estate under section 6
or 7 of the Act.
10. Upon an application in writing by or with the
authority of any person interested in the trust property, the
Public Trustee—
(a) shall permit the applicant or his
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Auditing of
accounts.
attorney-at-law or other authorised
agent to inspect and take copies of
any entry in any register relating to
the trust or estate and (so far as the
interest of the applicant in the trust
property is or may be affected
thereby) of any account, notice or
other document in the custody of the
Public Trustee;
(b) shall at the expense of the applicant
supply him or his attorney-at-law or
other authorised agent with a copy of
any such entry, account, or document
as aforesaid, or of any extract
therefrom;
(c) shall give to such applicant or his
attorney-at-law or other authorised
agent such information respecting the
trust or estate and the trust property
as shall be reasonably requested in the
application, and shall be within the
power of the Public Trustee.
(2) Subject as aforesaid the Public Trustee shall
observe strict secrecy in respect of every trust or estate in
course of administration by him.
AUDIT
11. When the Public Trustee acts in any trust or
administration by virtue of any appointment by the Court he
shall be an accounting party to the Court, and his accounts
shall be audited, and any securities held by him verified in
accordance with any rules or orders of the Court now in force
or which may from time to time be made or issued with
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Professional
assistance.
Statutory
declaration.

Realisation of
small estates
when insolvent.
[4 of 1972]
Application for
direction of the
Court.
c. 3:02
Hearing by
single judge.
respect to accounting parties to the Court.
In other cases the accounts of the Public Trustee shall be
audited and the securities held by him verified from time to
time by the Director of Audit.
12. Subject to the provisions of any particular trust,
and when he is acting by virtue of any appointment by the
Court, subject to any rules or orders of the Court, the Public
Trustee may take and use professional advice and assistance
in regard to legal and other matters and may act on credible
information (though less than legal evidence) as to matters of
fact.
13. The Public Trustee may at any time require a
statutory declaration or other sufficient evidence that a
person is alive and is the person to whom any money or
property is payable or transferable, and may refuse payment
or transfer until such declaration or evidence is produced.
14. When the Public Trustee undertakes the
administration of any estate, under section 6 or 7 of the Act,
the value of which does not in his opinion exceed $1000 and
such estate in his opinion is insolvent, it shall be competent
for him to realise such estate and distribute the proceeds
amongst the creditors in the order and priority prescribed by
any Act or rules for the time being regulating the
administration of insolvent estates.
15. The Public Trustee may apply to the Court for the
opinion, advice and direction of the Court on any question
respecting the management or administration of the property
under his charge and save as hereinafter provided, the
provisions of section 37 of the High Court Act shall apply to
any such application.
16. Any such application unless the Court otherwise
directs may be heard and dealt with by a single judge and
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Signature
sufficient.

Expenses to be
paid.
Authorisation
of deputy.


Commissions
and fees.

may be heard in chambers.
17. It shall be sufficient if the application is signed by
the Public Trustee without counsel or attorney-at-law.
18. When the Public Trustee takes possession of the
estate of an absentee under section 11 of the Act he shall,
before delivering up the same to the absentee or any attorney
appointed by him as provided by the Act, be entitled to be
paid all expenses he may have properly incurred in
connection with the estate and all fees to which he may be
entitled.
19. The Public Trustee may in writing authorise any
deputy to exercise and perform either generally or in relation
to a particular case and subject to such conditions and
restrictions (if any) as the Public Trustee may impose, all or
any of the powers and duties of the Public Trustee under rule
10, and may also in writing authorise any deputy to appear
on his behalf in any Court to do or perform some particular
act or deed in such writing specified which the Public Trustee
may be required to do or perform in the course of the
administration of any trust or estate.
FEES
20. The following commissions and fees shall be
charged in respect of the duties of the Public Trustee:
(a) from and out of all moneys realised or
received by him for or on account of
any estate or trust there shall be paid
a commission—
(i) where the gross assets do not
exceed ten thousand dollars, at
the rate of eight dollars on
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every hundred dollars received
or realised;
(ii) where the gross assets exceed
ten thousand dollars, at the rate
of eight dollars on every
hundred dollars received or
realised up to that amount and
at the rate of five dollars on
every hundred dollars received
or realised for the sum in excess
of that amount:
$ c.
(b) on application to inspect the
accounts of any trust or estate
0 25
(c) copies of accounts or
documents relating to any trust or
estate per folio
0 25
(d) for any certificate 1 00
(e) on application to take
possession of the estate of an
absentee—
(i) when the value of the
estate is less than $500
(ii) when the value of the
estate is more than
$500
5
10
00
00
(The amount of this fee shall be returned to the creditor
making the application out of any moneys received on
account of the estate or paid by the absentee for the purpose
as provided by these rules.)
____________________
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