How To Pay Your Trustee

Some trusts may be silent on the issue of how much and when to pay the trustee for their services. Some trustees may not want to be paid because they feel uncomfortable writing a check out of the trust and to themself. Other trustees want to be paid, but the beneficiary is unsure of how to make that happen. A recent article discusses the issue of paying your trustee.

Some trusts require that a court approve of any payment of fees to a trustee. For this type of trust, any request for payment must be submitted to and approved by a court official.

Where trust documents do not lay out how a trustee will be compensated, a trustee is not legally required to be paid for his or her services. If the trustee does decide to charge a fee, however, the Probate Code states the following:

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

This section of the probate code is not particularly helpful, because one person’s view of what is reasonable will differ from another’s. For a layperson trustee, a typical hourly rate is between $25 – $35 per hour. If the trustee has a particular skill applicable to the trust administration, a higher hourly rate is appropriate.

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