NSW Executor Fees Visualisation

or: bargain-hunting, even beyond the grave

When setting up a will, you must nominate an executor to distribute your assets. It's a nontrivial task with some legal liability, so it seems most common to nominate an organization to do it for you. There are a variety of organizations that'll execute your estate, for a price.

Effective fees seem to range between 0.5% and 5%. On an entire estate, that adds up, so it seems worth hunting around a bit.

I looked at these executors available in NSW:

  • NSW Trustee & Guardian
  • Perpetual
  • Equity Trustees
  • Australian Executor Trustees

Their pricing structures are to take a percentage of the estate. But they all advertise rates that change nonlinearly with the size of the executed estate, in addition to large minimum fees.

It's difficult to figure out the effective rate: it reminded me of comparing prepaid phone plans. They seem designed to obfuscate.

I converted the rate algorithms of 4 executors in NSW into code, and visualized it using Python/Pandas.

Note most providers have a $5,000 minimum executor fee, which means the 'Effective Rate' is off-the-chart until around $100,000.

I'm surprised that the default government-provided option (NSW Trustee & Guardian) is the cheapest over a wide range. I'd have expected competitors to be charging less. It looks like the private competition is mostly going after people with asset sizes over $2-3 million.

I'm also surprised by how uncompetitive Perpetual's prices are. They must surely have a cheaper rate if you negotiate.

I've uploaded the raw Jupyter Notebook on my GitHub page.