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Fair trustee fees in California for family members

Trustee fees are typically paid out to someone who does the work on the behalf of a person who wants to make sure that their assets are distributed correctly. This can be a long and complicated process, depending on the complexity of the situation, and it is also something that parents can have their children do. For this reason, it is important for these parents and children to know what types of trustee fees should be offered.

The problem is that the California Probate Code does not give a solid number that a person has to use. It does give out the fees for an executor, who may be used to do probate work if the court has to appoint someone to the case. A situation involving a trust and a family member who has been given this role, though, nothing is said.

A typical range that is good to use is from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of whatever value there is in the trust. This can be paid out for the time and effort it takes to do things like planning a funeral, distributing assets and paying off debt. It is rare for the amount to go over this, and 1 percent may even be too high in some cases.

If siblings are not able to come to an agreement about what seems to be fair, they will need to go to court. A judge can then step in, but this makes the process far longer, and it can strain relationships within the family.

The best solution is simply to add a number to the will or trust and to clear it with all family members involved. This way, when it is paid out, they will not have to determine it on their own.

Source: Monterey County Herald, "Reasonable trustee fees" No author given, May. 16, 2014

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