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AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13549
Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Estate Law.
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How much should an Executor to a Living Trust receive on a

Customer Question

How much should an Executor to a Living Trust receive on a $1,000,000 Trust for a fee? I have been told, because I am a family member I should take nothing for administering my Father's Trust.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 8 years ago.

Dear Frazier,


Thank you for your question and I look forward to working on your answer. Please keep in mind that I can only respond to your post and the information contained in it, as I do not know what you know unless you describe it fully. Also, due to site tech reasons, oftentimes I am initially only able to see the first part of your post, so I apologize in advance if I ask a redundant question.


That being said, in order to better assist you, could you please clarify for me:


1. Are you the Trustee of the Trust?


I look forward to getting to work on this for you. Hang in there!




US Attorney


Please note: I do not provide legal advice, only legal information; I do notlegally represent any JA members, visitors or customers. We do not and will not enjoy an attorney/client relationship. Further communication with me here is an acceptance of this and any information provided by me is with the understanding that you comprehend this and agree.

A times there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. In addition, if it is late at night, EST, and we are between postings, I may go get some shut eye, but I'll be back the next day, so never fear. On Saturday, there will be greater gaps in time due to scheduling, for any needed follow up, but rest assured, by day's end it will be done.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am the Trustee to my Father's Living Trust. He has passed away and I have executed his Trust. I have been told by a Lawyer that because I am a family member, I DO NOT receive an Executor's fee for this service. The Trust was worth an estimated $1,000,000. What is your opinion based on your expertise?
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 8 years ago.

Hi Frazier,


In the interest of getting you your answer expeditiously, I am going to assume that you are the Trustee of the Trust in question. And, there is no reason why you shouldn't be compensated for this arduous job, just as if you refused the job and a professional trustee had to be hired, it is a paying job.


In California, the law of living trusts is found in the Probate Code.




a) Subject to subdivision (b), and except as provided in
Section 15688, if the trust instrument provides for the trustee's
compensation, the trustee is entitled to be compensated in accordance
with the trust instrument.


(b) Upon proper showing, the court may fix or allow greater or
lesser compensation than could be allowed under the terms of the
trust in any of the following circumstances:


(1) Where the duties of the trustee are substantially different
from those contemplated when the trust was created.


(2) Where the compensation in accordance with the terms of the
trust would be inequitable or unreasonably low or high.


(3) In extraordinary circumstances calling for equitable relief.


c) An order fixing or allowing greater or lesser compensation
under subdivision (b) applies only prospectively to actions taken in
administration of the trust after the order is made.

and 15681:


If the trust instrument does not specify the trustee's compensation, the trustee is entitled to reasonable compensation under the circumstances.



The court may fix an amount of periodic compensation under Sections 15680 and 15681 to continue for as long as the court determines is proper.




a) As used in this section, "trustee's fee" includes, but
is not limited to, the trustee's periodic base fee, rate of
percentage compensation, minimum fee, hourly rate, and transaction
charge, but does not include fees for extraordinary services.
(b) A trustee may not charge an increased trustee's fee for
administration of a particular trust unless the trustee first gives
at least 60 days' written notice of that increased fee to all of the
following persons:
(1) Each beneficiary who is entitled to an account under Section
(2) Each beneficiary who was given the last preceding account.
(3) Each beneficiary who has made a written request to the trustee
for notice of an increased trustee's fee and has given an address
for receiving notice by mail.
(c) If a beneficiary files a petition under Section 17200 for
review of the increased trustee's fee or for removal of the trustee
and serves a copy of the petition on the trustee before the
expiration of the 60-day period, the increased trustee's fee does not
take effect as to that trust until otherwise ordered by the court or
the petition is dismissed.



So, yes, it is irrelevant that you are family, this is a job and they are being greedy and cheap if they think you should give up your valuable time to give THEM charity (particularly when they clearly don't need it, given the trust).


If the Trust language it self is silent, you must figure out waht is reasonable under the circumstances, for compensaton.


What is reasonable under the circumstances? I see 3/4 of a percent to 1 1/4% of the trust assets. One attorney recommends going to various banks with trust departments and grabbing their brochures about their trust services to see what the going rate is in your particular location in California. Sounds like an excellent idea.


You can charge accordingly. If you want to make nice, consider charging on the lower end of the spectrum, but I would not let anyone even try to guilt me into working for free. Not only can it be very hard work, it comes with it all sorts of liabilities, fiduciary duties, etc. Why take on that headache when you culd hire a company to do it, if you will not be charging? The estate can certainly afford it. My opinion :)



Hope this helps to clarify.


I believe I have answered your question and I hope you a better understanding of your legal issue as a result. As you know, I am only the messenger, not your attorney, nor can I create favorable law if it doesn't exist, so please don't hold it against me if the legal result is not what you wish. If your question was in fact answered appropriately please click the GREEN "ACCEPT" button NOW, in order that it be recognized as such and I receive credit for my work from the company. Doing so ensures I will be willing to assist your with your future legal question. In addition, Positive "FEEDBACK" and BONUSES are also appreciated. If you need additional related follow up on this particular question afterward clicking ACCEPT, don't hesitate to click "Reply" and I will be happy to help you. And if you would like my assistance in the future, just put my name, STEPHANIE JOY, in your title or first sentence of a new post. Please keep in mind that I can only respond to your post and the information contained in it, as I do not know what you know unless you describe it fully. Also, due to site tech reasons, oftentimes I am initially only able to see the first part of your post, so I apologize in advance if it means more interactions between us. At times, there can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break, or if it is late at night, I may have to go get some shut eye til morning, but rest assured, I'll be back for you. Thanks






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AlexiaEsq. and 3 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


Thank you for your answer. It did help me to understand my situation. I will use your opinion accordingly. Frasier1968 :)

Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 8 years ago.
You are very welcome Frasier. Good luck.