September 14, 2022

What is a Statutory Trustee?

The sale of jointly owned properties isn’t always a smooth experience. In some cases, disagreements over how to sell a property, who to sell it to or the asking price can require the intervention of an impartial third party to resolve the matter. For cases like these, Statutory Trustees are appointed by the Court to sell the property and distribute any profits among co-owners such as spouses or investment partners.

With the power to resolve disputes over the sale of real property, Statutory Trustees play an important role in separation, divorce, bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings. To find out how they help manage property disputes, we’re going to look at the role of Statutory Trustees in more detail below.


What is a Statutory Trustee?

Statutory Trustees are specialists appointed by the Court to manage the process of selling real property, such as vacant land or blocks with houses or buildings constructed on them. A Statutory Trustee is typically appointed in cases where there has been a dispute between the property’s co-owners regarding the sale, and the process needs to be administered by a third party to reach an agreeable outcome.

Once appointed, the Statutory Trustee acts as an impartial third party to execute the sale of a property. The Trustee will handle each part of the process, including engaging a real estate agent, obtaining a valuation, marketing the property for sale and distributing the proceeds as required.


When is a Statutory Trustee Appointed?

Courts usually appoint Statutory Trustees to oversee the sale of properties in situations where the owners can’t agree on how the property should be dealt with. This means that Statutory Trustees are often appointed when:

  • Spouses are divorcing and can’t agree on how to manage shared properties
  • Investment partners are dissolving or altering their agreement
  • Bankruptcy proceedings require a property to be sold where one co-owner is bankrupt and the others aren’t

The sale of property during bankruptcy proceedings can be complex. Especially where one co-owner is bankrupt and the others aren’t, the Bankruptcy Trustee may not be able to simply sell the property and satisfy the bankrupt’s creditors. In cases like this, it’s common for the other owners of a property to purchase the bankrupt’s share at market value. If they can’t afford to purchase the share or are uncooperative, the Bankruptcy Trustee can apply to the court to appoint a Statutory Trustee. If appointed, the Statutory Trustee takes possession of the property and can sell it without requiring the permission of all the owners.


The Outcomes of Statutory Trusteeship

The role of a Statutory Trustee is to realise the value of a property and obtain the best possible result for the beneficiaries. This obligation means that the Statutory Trustee is required to balance the needs of the beneficiaries against the sale price and the timeframe of the sale.

To achieve the best outcome, the Statutory Trustee will typically engage professional help from real estate agents and solicitors to oversee the sale process. This helps to ensure that the Trustee obtains the best price in a reasonable timeframe and avoids accusations of mismanagement of the property. Once the sale of the property is completed, the funds are deposited in a trust to be distributed to the co-owners. This trust will also reimburse the Trustee for any fees they paid out of pocket, such as legal fees, the cost of hiring real estate agents and other trading costs.


Need the Services of an Experienced Statutory Trustee? SV Partners Can Help

Selling a property can be a stressful experience at the best of times. But, if you’re struggling to reach an agreement with the other owners of a property, appointing a Statutory Trustee can help you reach the best outcome and navigate through the dispute. The team at SV Partners is qualified to take on the role of the Statutory Trustee and assist you with the sale of properties where there are issues between the owners and other parties. Whatever outcome you need to reach, we can provide the expert advice and assistance to work towards the best outcome for everyone involved. Contact us today to find out more about Statutory Trusteeships, or phone 1800 246 801 to book a confidential consultation with our team.

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