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Probate Attorney Fees

Who Pays For Trust Counsel?

Other than receiving reasonable compensation, the trustee should not use trust funds for a personal benefit. You can’t have trust counsel perform personal services for you, and pay for those services from trust funds.

It is recommended that any attorney you hire for the trust, clearly distinguishes work on behalf of the trust from any services which the lawyer may provide to you on an individual, personal basis. Ideally, your trust counsel should only represent you in your capacity as trustee and you should have a separate lawyer, separate law firm, handling your personal matters. The trustee may not use trust funds to pay an attorney to prepare his will, or to review a contract or a prenuptial agreement. This is true no matter how little the cost of legal services may be, regardless of whether the attorney provides a discount to the trustee, or how good a job the trustee is doing. Personal expenses are personal expenses. You pay for them – not the trust. No exceptions. There is no “gray” here: it’s black and white. If you don’t know if an expense or cost is personal or if it benefits the trust, then it’s personal. You pay for it out of your own pocket.

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