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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31672
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I excepted a relatives request to act as successor trustee

Customer Question

I excepted a relatives request to act as successor trustee to his estate without compensation.The trust agreement states; ".... without compensation, but shall be reimbursed from the trust estate for his customary and reasonable expenses" I have since come to understand that administering the estate will be complex,time-consuming and go on for decades.Does the aforementioned trust language include those 1%-3% customary fees or would a court order be required to collect such fees from the estate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.

Hi - my name is ***** ***** I'll be glad to help. Thanks for requesting me!

If the trust document calls for no compensation, then that's what you're going to be hung with UNLESS you change the terms of the trust. In order to do that, you would have to file a petition with the court and ask that it be approved, etc......which the court is going to approve whatever is in the best interest of the trust....so you'll have to be able to show that the time and effort will justify a reasonable fee. Thus, it is POSSIBLE to make this change, but you'll need a court order to be able to get any compensation. If you do get this change, you would be entitled to a reasonable fee under Florida law. F.S. §736.0708(1).

Unfortunately, the statutes are devoid of any reference to what amounts to “reasonable” compensation or how to determine whether fees sought by a trustee are per se reasonable. Generally, compensation of a Trustee may be established in the Trust instrument or by separate agreement with the Trustee. In the absence of either, the circuit court has jurisdiction to review and determine a trustee’s fees. F.S. §736.0201(4)(c), (4)(g). Even in certain situations in which the trust does specify the trustee’s compensation, the court may adjust that compensation if the trustee’s duties are substantially different from those contemplated when the trust was created or if the compensation specified is unreasonably low or high. F.S. §736.0708(2). As a result, whether or not the trust instrument provides for the basis, amount, and form of compensation, the amount or rate of a trustee’s compensation or commission is not determined by any inflexible rule, but rests within the sole discretion of the appropriate court.