Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi, I'm Thomas and will be happy to assist you. My goal is to make you a very satisfied customer! Thanks in advance for your patience.
Is all the property in the trust or is there also property in the probate estate that will be probated so that it ends up in the trust according to the terms of a will that leaves the probate property to the trust?
No property outside the trust.
Okay. In that case, you simply receive the fee a trustee would receive. An executor is the person in charge of an estate where property is in the probate estate, a probate is opened, and a person is appointed as representative of the estate according to a will. That person is the executor. The executor is not in charge of trust property - only probate estate property. Similarly, the person in charge of a trust and trust property is the trustee. The trustee is not in charge of probate estate property - only trust property. Under CA law, the trustee is entitled to a reasonable compensation: "15681. If the trust instrument does not specify the trustee's compensation, the trustee is entitled to reasonable compensation under the circumstances."
Love "reasonable", what is "reasonable" to one is outrageous to another. What I want to do is calculate my fee, trustee,
sorry, on a simple percentile if that is possible.
Have a KISS approach.
Unfortunately, the statute provides for a "reasonable fee," not a percentage basis. I know that makes it difficult to quickly tally up what your fee might be, but the law doesn't make it easy. It's based on all the circumstances: what you do as trustee, what another person would charge, how long it takes you, etc. Generally, it would be a base hourly fee at or slightly above minimum wage for non-skilled aspects of the job. If you're doing something that takes expertise, it would depend on how much of your time is performing that expert work and what another expert would charge.
Please understand I wish I could tell you a quick percentage and make it easy, but the law just doesn't work that way. Please don't hold that against me. I can only provide you with information concerning what the law is -- and in this case it doesn't make it simple to calculate a fee. I'm sorry about that. I know it's frustrating.
Had to solicit an attorney because the relatives are trying to pull fast one and I would not be surprised if this debacle winds up in court.
I'm sorry to hear that. I do see that happen more than I would like -- families fighting over property. Just keep very good track of your time spent serving as trustee, all expenses/costs incurred, and exactly what it is you're doing each time you perform a task as trustee. Then go through your records and decide what you think is fair based on everything you did, etc. They can always argue over what is reasonable and a court might have to decide, but talking with your attorney based on your records and own opinion is the starting place.
Have a sinking feeling that I have to wait if we have to go to court at which time I can ask the judge fir guidance.
Yes, you can always submit a bill of costs/expenses and let the judge determine whether that's reasonable.
Thank you for your input.
You're welcome. I'm glad I could help. I would be grateful if you could leave me a positive rating for my assistance. Thanks!