To ensure the trust extended to the Public Trustee by the Donors and/or Settlers of Charitable Trusts / Their Estates (Money and/or Property) with a view to uphold their final wishes and/or purposes within a legal framework for the utmost benefit of beneficiaries and/ or General Public.


Administration of Trusts and Estates of deceased persons which are entrusted to this Department so as to provide an excellent service through the resources and skills of the Department with a view to satisfy all the parties relevant to those estates including the beneficiaries.

Office of the Public Trustee of Sri Lanka has been established as a corporate sole under that name, with perpetual succession and an official seal, and may sue and be sued under the above name like any other corporate sole under Ordinance No 01 of 1922 and has been amended by Ordinance No. 11 of 1931, 59 of 1938 and Law No.44 of 1973, 25 of 1975 and Act No. 41 of 1983, 61 of 1988.

Deputy Public Trustee or Deputies can be appointed to assist the Public Trustee, under the sec. 4 of the Act No.61 of 1988.  The Public Trustee and Deputy Public Trustee should be Attorneys at law having twelve to Fifteen years’ Experience. Most of the Functions and duties devolved under the ordinance are based on legal background and mostly to the civil law.

Legal Background

Office of Public Trustee of Sri Lanka has been incorporated under Ordinance No 01 of 1922 and has been amended by Ordinance No. 11 of 1931, 59 of 1938 and Law No.44 of 1973, 25 of 1975 and Act No. 41 of 1983, 61 of 1988 and The Public Trustee shall, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and rules made hereunder, be capable of being appointed and of acting under that name.

Law of Trusts in Sri Lanka is been regulated under the Trust Ordinance, No. 09 of 1917 amended by Ordinance No. 04 of 1918, 01 of 1934 and Act No. 07 of 1968, 30 of 1971. And further according to the Sec. 02 of the Trusts Ordinance, where there are no specific provision made under this ordinance or any other written law, shall be determined by the principles of equity for the time being in force in the High Court of Justice in England.

General Powers and duties of the Public Trustee

The Public Trustee shall, subject to the provisions of Public Trustee Ordinance, Civil Procedure Code, Judicature Act and other enactments and rules made there under, be capable of being appointed and of acting under that name

  1. As an ordinary trustee, as a custodian trustee,
  2. As collector of estates under an order to collect,
  3. As curator of the estate of a minor, as the next friend or guardian for the action under Chapter XXXV of the Civil Procedure Code of any minor or person of unsound mind,
  4. As a manager of the estate of a person of unsound mind,(When entrusted by the District Court)
  5. As manager of immovable property upon a contract on terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon. (Where the Public Trustee is appointed as custodian trustee he is obligated to exercise of the powers of management or any other power of discretion vested in such board of Managing Trustees.)
  6. As attorney for persons absent from Sri Lanka for the purpose of receiving and paying money.
  7. Under the Civil Procedure Code the Public Trustee shall be deemed to be a suitable person as a manager of an estate.
  8. As an administrator of an intestate estate under the Civil Procedure Code.
  9. As a custodian trustee of properties of person who is serving a sentence in prison.
  10. The Public Trustee may accept the custody for the purpose of safe keeping a Last will of any living person.
  11. Public Trustee as a trustee of the compensation given to the acquisition of temple property.

Powers and duties vested in Public Trustee underwritten Laws and Amendments to the Public Trustee Ordinance

Under the provisions of other written laws and amendments made to the public trustee ordinance, following Powers and duties are being vested on Public Trustee.

  • Under the Sec. 10 A of the Public Trustee Ordinance as amended by Act No. 61 of 1988, Public Trustee shall act as the body who distributes any compensation received upon the death of persons while in overseas employment among their dependents and/or heirs. Further, any Sri Lankan citizen proceeding for employment outside Sri Lanka may register with the Public Trustee for the purpose of regulating and ensuring efficient  distribution of  any compensation which shall be payable in the event of their  death while in employment.
  • Payment of compensations related to Buddhist Temples under Act No 61of 1988.
  • Under the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Special Provisions) Law, No. 28 of 1973, the shares of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon, Limited shall vest with the Public Trustee for the benefit of the Government.

  No 02, Bullers Lane
Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka.

+94 112 581 690
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