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Florida Trustee Fees — when are they too much?

What We Do • Mar 14, 2021
post about Florida Trustee Fees — when are they too much?

When are Florida Trustee Fees too much? When are they “excessive”? We have previously written about Florida Trustee Compensation. In this legal commentary, Florida trust litigator John Pankauski will provide insight. We will consider the factors under Florida law.

Trustee Fees. When are they too much?

Trustee Compensation Factors to Consider in Florida

The Florida Supreme Court has told us what factors to consider when it comes to Florida Trustee Fees.

And trust expert lawyer John Pankauski has given us a roadmap.

First, read the trust document! What does it say about compensation?

If the Florida trust document says nothing about fees, then we know to follow the West Coast Hospital case factors. (See commentary below about the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation case.)

If the trust document explains what the trustee fees should be, then read Florida Trust Code Section 736.108. The Florida Trust Code is a body of statutes created by the legislature for trustees and beneficiaries to follow. You can read it for free. Just CLICK HERE.

In 1958, the Florida Supreme Court issued a trustee fee opinion. That trust case is called West Coast Hospital Association vs. Florida National Bank of Jacksonville.

Want to know what trustee fee factors are to be considered? Check out this from the West Coast Hospital Case.

The Florida Supreme Court has set forth factors to be considered for trustee fees.

Some of the factors to be considered for trustee fees in Florida are:

  1. amount of money in the trust;
  2. comparable fees for trustees in the community;
  3. success or failure of trustee at her job;
  4. whether unique or unusual skills which the trustee had were used or helped the trust;
  5. the loyalty or dis-loyalty of the trustee;
  6. risk and responsibility;
  7. how much time was required to administer the trust and deal with trust beneficiaries;
  8. what trust companies and banks charge;
  9. the character of the work done — complex and sophisticated or “meat and potatoes” routine trust administration;
  10. the trustee’s own view as to the value of her services

Finally, you should know that as recently as 2016, the 2nd District Court of Appeal used the West Coast Hospital factors. That case dealt with a trust which said nothing about trustee fees. That Florida trustee fee case is: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation v. Gutman. You can read that case for free by clicking HERE.