What Can Attorney Trustees Charge for Closing Out a Trust?

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Our firm has been attorney for a Credit Shelter Trust for a deceased client over 30 years ago. A member of the firm had always been a co-trustee until last year. Client’s widow has recently died and there are no provisions for principal distribution fees for attorneys. There has always been provision for income and principal distribution for Trustees. Are there any guidelines for what our firm can receive regarding closing the trust?


I’m not aware of any guidelines, unless they’re for your state specifically. While some banks and trust companies do have fees for closing out trusts, they often seem like penalties to me, punishing the clients for moving the trust to another trustee. On the other hand, attorney fees are a normal trust expense. I think it would be appropriate to charge for your time at your customary rates for any necessary work beyond what would be expected to be covered under your standard trustee fee.


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