Working with a Professional Trustee

It is news to many individuals that you can hire a professional to be the trustee or executor of their estate. Whether a will or trust is completed, everyone needs a representative to handle their estate after their death. For most individuals, this representative is a family member. If someone has no reliable family members or friends to carry out the obligations and responsibilities of being the trustee/executor, professionals can be named. Last week our blog mentioned the growing problems of elder orphans. For individuals facing this problem, professionals can be retained to help fill the void.

So, how do you find a professional trustee? Many estate planning attorneys as well as elder law attorneys offer professional trustee services. Hurley Elder Care Law is one of the many firms that offers this service. In addition to attorneys, financial planners, and financial institutions often offer professional trustee services. You can begin this journey by meeting with potential trustees to discuss fee agreements and compensation arrangements, the professional’s past work, and their ability to be available for years into the future. The job as the professional trustee will be a very big task and will likely take months or even more than a year to settle, and we never know when the trustee will be needed. The person that serves after your death has several major responsibilities, including:

  • Administering your estate and distributing the assets to your beneficiaries,
  • Making certain tax decisions,
  • Paying any estate debts or expenses,
  • Ensuring all life insurance and retirement plan benefits are received, and
  • Filing the necessary tax returns and paying the appropriate federal and state taxes.

Each professional trustee will have a fee structure that you should carefully review. Their fees may be charged monthly, quarterly or annually based upon the value and type of the assets they are managing in a trust or estate. Some professional trustees also charge hourly fees or flat fees for certain activities or situations. It is very important to closely review the fee schedule so that you understand how and what fees will be charged to the estate.

Making the decision about who to name in your will and/or trust can be stressful. We would be happy to help you understand the options. We will analyze your specific situation and provide guidance in these matters. To begin this journey with Hurley Elder Care Law, please contact us at info@hurleyeclaw.com or (404) 843-0121.