Public Trustees & Guardians & State Trustees

About our Public Trustee Service

For over 25 years we have supplied reports to numerous public and state trustees in Australia as well as private trust corporations, lawyers and banks.

Where there is an intestacy in Australia, especially where no next of kin are known, or only some of the kin are have been identified, Finders International, in conjunction with our private legal partners offer a fast and impressive service at a reasonable cost, which is usually success based. So if you don’t receive an inheritance, we receive nothing and you owe us nothing.

What is the role of the trustee and guardian (“nswtag”) in NSW?

NSW Trustee & Guardian was established in 2009 and is a self-funding NSW general government agency. Their revenue comes from: commissions and fees on estates, trusts and agencies and through fees for managing clients’ assets.

The NSW Trustee and Guardian competes with the private sector, this something which the Australian public may not be fully aware of, and therefore, Finders International, which offers over 25 years of experience in this field and over 150 staff,  is perfectly placed to offer an alternative to the NSWTAG, especially when next of kin are missing or unknown on intestacy matters.

The New South Wales Trustee and Guardian’s fees include hourly rates and percentage based uplifts according to the value of estates they handle.

Do I need the NSW trustee & guardian?

When someone dies with no known next of kin or with family members missing on intestacy, we can offer a fast efficient solution. By tracing the next of kin and working with private solicitors the New South Wales trustee and Guardian service is unnecessary.

NSW trustee and Guardian is a huge source of frustration for numerous families and we have seen negative comments about the length of time taken over matters, the cost and frustration of dealing with them. We offer an alternative.

Finders International are on your side from the outset. We work with you to provide a fast efficient service and ensure you get paid as soon as possible. We cannot get paid until you do, so we are all on the same team!

A 2014 report on the NSW trustee and Guardian states:

Alzheimer’s Australia noted that responses to its survey on NSWTG’s service
level/standards indicated that the high cost and delays in action associated with
estates managed by the NSWTG were reasons for not using their services. Some
specific survey comments included:

The fees are way over the top when you consider how poor the service is
how little actual ‘management’ of your finances takes place! It takes three
times longer to answer any questions you might have and the stress involved
in the process is ridiculous. Heaven help if you have a complaint because they
answer to no one.”

“They took 18 months to process a modest estate and charged the earth.”

Finders International and our legal partners typically complete our work within 6-12months.


Daniel Curran, CEO of Finders International said “We have also been subjected to the nswtag’s demands and red-tape when working to prove next of kin claims to the New South Wales Trustee and Guardian and recover an unclaimed estate for overseas heirs which they held in the absence of any next of kin being known to them. Our evidence was clear and precise, but the costs we were forced to incur were very high in relation to the task – which was simply proving to the NSW Trustee and Guardian that the Deceased had very close family living in the UK. Their own genealogy department had failed to locate these entitled relatives and so we represented them on a no win / no fee basis and covered all the costs of the claim. As a private company, we do not wish to ‘challenge’ the role of the NSWTAG, but to offer a complementary private sector alternative that will ease their burden. They are clearly overstretched and many matters are not receiving the attention they deserve; and we can help. Their genealogy department will do their best to help find missing family members, but their resources and contacts are not a patch on our team of over 150 specialist staff with hundreds of exclusive, expert beneficiary tracing firms and contacts around the world.”

The New South Wales Trustee and Guardian has now [coincidentally?] removed the list of unclaimed estates from their website, meaning that they hold money due to families who have not been traced and now will almost certainly never be traced. We have offered to assist them and we repeat that offer here, but it appears this request, on behalf of next of kin who are rightful heirs, has not been heeded.

What to do when someone dies without any next of kin?

In Australia there is a clear choice of who to contact when the deceased has apparently left no living relatives. Finders International will trace the next of kin, free of charge or obligation and proceed to recommend a private lawyer to administer the Estate. Our fees are usually a percentage of the net sum due to each heir, expressed as a percentage of any sum they actually receive. So we want the beneficiaries to be paid as soon as possible, so that we can be paid!

When someone dies with no known relatives, there is usually nobody empowered legally to pay for research to find next of kin. This may be why, for example, the New South Wales Trustee and Guardian has “absorbed” unclaimed estates and has no incentive to do anything about them.  As they are not being paid any fees and there is nobody putting pressure on them to administer the estate these cases understandably go to the back of the queue. However, Finders International believes these cases deserve our full attention as the next of kin, through no fault of their own, are completely unaware  of their relative passing away and any entitlement they may be due as a result.

Many Australian States happily refer cases to Finders International. It is, however, alarming that NSW, the largest Australian State with the greatest number of diverse races within it, does not appear to seriously engage with the problem of people dying intestate, with no known next of kin. They no longer advertise estates as unclaimed – so how will next of kin ever be aware of a potential inheritance due to them? Next of kin usually simply do not know that their relative has died or that there is money due to them. Finders International was set up to identify and locate beneficiaries and next of kin over 25 years ago, and our service to trace relatives is free of charge to Public or State Trustees when working on a contingency basis. We do not have any minimum fees or minimum estate values to work to and resolve over 500 cases every year, free of charge to anyone as part of our pro-bono support of this sector.

We welcome all enquiries from State and Public Trustees and hope that by working in partnership with them, we can return the money due to families that are rightfully entitled.”

Get in Touch