You are named the trustee of a family member’s trust in South Florida. Your first reaction is, why me? Your second reaction is,: how much work is involved?
Many people choose to be their own trustee and continue to manage their affairs for as long as they are able. A successor trustee is named to step in and manage the trust when the trustee is no longer able to continue (usually due to incapacity or death).
The trustee has a very important role, to safeguard assets for others; for the grantor (if living) and for the beneficiaries, who will receive them after the grantor dies. The trustee essentially “manages” the estate.
A trustee will be compensated for their services. Trustees are not entitled to compensation simply by virtue of their appointment as trustee, but they must provide a service and/or benefit that are supported by adequate proof.
In Florida, trustee compensation is determined by the terms of the Trust, then by what is reasonable under the circumstances. If the terms of the Trust do not specify the trustee’s compensation, the amount will depend on the type of trust administration which will be required.
The probate court may allow more or less compensation if:
(1) Duties of the trustee are substantially different from those contemplated in the trust.
(2) Compensation specified in trust would be unreasonably high or low.
(3) If trustee has rendered services in connection with the administration of the Trust, the trustee shall also be allowed reasonable compensation for other services rendered in addition to reasonable compensation as trustee.
It is an important to decision to decide who will be named a trustee for your trust. Speak with an experienced estate-planning attorney in South Florida to help advise you. Contact The Hershey Law Firm, (954) 303-9468, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for your estate planning needs.