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Questions about Co-trustee Rights

A trust is a legal tool used to contain wealth of an individual. Generally, trustees are the beneficiaries or persons appointed to manage the duties for the trust to function. When there is more than one trustee it is referred to as co-trustees. Below are common questions answered by Experts on co-trustees and their rights.

In Florida, can modifications be made on the trust without judicial proceedings by the co-trustee who is also the child of the deceased grantor?

As per Florida law, in most cases, modifications to the trust are not allowed. If the grantor is deceased, the trust cannot be altered. The rules of the trust as written becomes binding and has to be followed by the trustee and co-trustee. A trustee attempting to make changes or failing to follow the provisions laid down in the trust would be held liable to any other beneficiary of the trust for the resultant damage. The person could also be criminally charged for embezzlement, theft, and so on.

Can a lawyer be appointed as a co-trustee on a credit shelter trust? What would be an approximate fee to serve as a corporate trustee?

Being an attorney by profession does not disqualify them from playing the role of a trustee. The possibility of an attorney being appointed as a co-trustee is dependent on the fact if the attorney is representing interests of another party other than his/her own. The attorney should abide by the rules of conduct and ethics as defined in his license. The ethical obligations of the attorney come into the picture if the attorney is representing another party in the trust leading to a conflict of interest in the transactions. Fees would vary based on the locality and experience of the attorney. The attorney could charge amounts varying from $50 an hour to $1000 or more each hour.

I am a co-trustee trying to exercise my fiduciary duties but I am being intentionally intimidated by another co-trustee’s attorney. Can I ask him to restrict his interaction to counseling his client by not participating in the procedures?

Once a person hires an attorney, the attorney has the right to speak, think, perform duties on the client’s behalf and represent the client. You cannot ask him to stay out of the trust procedures as he has been given that authority by the co-trustee who has hired him. Since you are experiencing issues with his tactics and it is interfering in your ability to perform your duties, you would need to come to some sort of agreement or you could consider hiring an attorney to represent you. Then the attorneys would be the ones discussing the matter concerning the trust.

I am a co-trustee of my grandfather’s six million dollar estate with duties to execute along with two other co-trustees. What is considered reasonable and customary trustee fees? Can the other co-trustees dispute my fees? If yes, can I use the trust funds to engage a lawyer?

There is no specific or fixed fee for a trustee. It is dependent on the size of the trust. Usually the percentage would be 0.5% to 1% of the trust amount divided among the trustees. With respect to your particular case of a six million dollar estate it would be $30,000 to $60,000 shared among three or $10,000 to $20,000 to you as an individual along with incidental expenses. The trustees could dispute the fees and if they do so by refusing your payment or pursue a lawsuit, you could use the internal trust funds for the legal fees since this is fundamentally a trust related matter.

The grantor of a revocable trust had signed a loan agreement as a guarantor for a property which is now under foreclosure. As a co-trustee, can I answer to the complaint and file a counterclaim?

In this particular situation and matter, the loan and trust are separate from each other and not interconnected. The trust cannot be pursued nor can it be used to pursue a claim unless the trust itself was a party or named in the claim. The trust would continue operating as per the stipulations in the agreement. If the administrator of the estate is named as defendant, they are obligated to respond. In case of the trust being named in the complaint, the trustees are not liable in their individual capacity but as trustees they do need to defend the trust. This could be done by hiring the services of a lawyer. However if the lender is pressing charges against you personally, the trust or your role as co-trustee is immaterial and you would need to answer the complaint with the help of legal counsel.


Handling a trust and playing the role of co-trustees can be quite complex with many factors to consider and operate under. There may be difference of opinions, resistance to change and general ignorance when it comes to trusts and managing the interpersonal dynamics. To know more about your particular situation with regard to co-trustee rights and to have your doubts and queries answered, insights from Experts could prove to be very useful as well as necessary.

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Recent Co trustee Questions

  • Probate question in California,Raymond please respond if available

    Probate question in California,Raymond please respond if available if not anyone is fine,
    I forgot to sign an objection to first account i filed with the court before trial & now the two day trial is over(judge has not made a ruling yet & has taken the conservatorship case & removal of co trustee case under submission & has allowed time for sibling/atty to respond & there were other outstanding issues they needed to address requested by court examiners)& sibling & attorney are asking for my objection to be thrown out because of missing signature,verification pc 1020 & ca court rules 7.103 I do plan on going to the court in the next few days to sign/amend the document & email/mail certified letters with the correction to all necessary parties.i am pro per & have struggled to get to this point,my question is what are the chances of them being successful over my stupid mistake,thanks
  • Hello, My name is Dong. I have a niece who is working over

    Hello, My name is Dong. I have a niece who is working over sea. She is in process of selling her house in California. The approximate amount she will receive on selling her house is $190,000 USD. She must return to work before the bank funding her money, and she planned to make a power Attorney paper which authorizes me to receive her money. My questions are:
    - Will the money be funded directly to my bank account?
    - Can I borrow the whole amount ($190,000 USD) and use it to make a real estate investment?
    - If she agree to let me borrow her money to invest on real estate, what are the legitimate steps I should follow to prevent future problem?
    - her mother is not a US citizen, and is living in the country where she work. Can her mother use the money to invest in real estate in US? If yes, what are the legitimate steps and requirements for her mother to make the investment and have her name on tittle?
    - On another option, can her mother and I join in the investment?

    Thank you very much,
    Sincerely,
    Dong
  • I am one of two trustees (sisters) of my mothers trust. We

    I am one of two trustees (sisters) of my mothers trust. We hired a lawyer and everything has been divided up equally; only $10,000 remains in the trust account to be divided after some bills are paid. No probate was involved. My sister is not communicating with me and the lawyer is financially the go between. Resulting from the communication breakdown between trustees the legal fees have been unnecessarily mounting. I would like to terminate the legal work of this lawyer. Can I do this alone as a co trustee or does my sister have to agree. I believe we can finish this ourselves. Is there any necessity to have a lawyer end the trust? Can we do it ourselves? Do I have to keep paying for legal service that I don't feel we need; I feel hostage to this lawyer. I would like to end my relationship now with this lawyer
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