Law Offices of Craig Willford
Fees in non-supervised and court supervised trust matters
Data as of August 21, 2011
When the court takes jurisdiction over a trust, then the attorney fees also come under supervision of the court. As a consequence, fees then are typically paid in a manner that is more in line with the "Judge To Determine" (JTD) fashion, as is done in conservatorships and on extraordinary fees in decedent's probate estates.
- Legal services rendered to assist with winding up a trust following the death of a Settlor, or in splitting a trust into the sub-trusts required after the death of the first of two Settlors are typically rendered on an hourly basis and typically not supervised by a court.
- The fees are normally paid from the trust itself. Sometimes there is inadequate liquidity with which to do so, however, and the family wishes to seek to avoid the sale of the non-liquid assets in order to get them paid. In such instances, the family members whose share of liquidity in the trust (had there been some) can contribute money of their own, in the same proportions as their shares would have been out of the liquidity funds (again if there had been some). The contributed money can be the source for payment of fees.
- My hourly fees on trust matters is at my normal hourly rate.
- A deposit to my Client Trust Account is normally required for a sum great enough to cover the anticipated hourly fees.
- There are times in which a trust which was anticipated not to need court supervision nonetheless comes under court supervision. Typically that happens in two instances:
- One of the non-trustees files a pleading to bring it under supervision of the court to force an accounting or require the court to review the accounting or to remove the Trustee for some asserted wrongdoing or some similar cause or
- The Trustee him/herself wants the blessing of the court ruling upon a proposed course of action or the interpretation of the trust language or his/her accounting, so as to close, once and for all, any ambiguity that the Trustee had acted reasonably.
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