When you create a trust or a power of attorney, you have to choose a person or entity to act on your behalf – your “agent” or “trustee,” depending upon the document. More generally, these people are called your “fiduciaries” because they have a fiduciary duty to you or your beneficiaries to act only in your best interest. Typically, a fiduciary’s duty involves managing money properly and making sound financial decisions. Choosing your fiduciary is a very important decision because they have significant power and control over your assets upon assuming their position.

A poor fiduciary may mismanage money, cause delays and extra fees, or even steal from you. While your fiduciary is liable for any mistakes made during the course of their duties, we want to avoid such a situation in your estate plan in the first place. A good fiduciary will manage your family’s expectations, pay valid bills promptly, coordinate with your financial planner, CPA, and other members of your financial team, make prudent investments, and safeguard your assets.

TuckerAllen is now offering fiduciary services, so that we may act as your fiduciary in a will, trust, or financial power of attorney in order to carry out your wishes.

Why Have a Corporate Trustee or Agent?

An important part of drafting a trust is selecting a successor trustee. As the Grantor or creator of your trust, you will typically serve as the initial trustee until you pass away or lose capacity. At that point, your successor trustee will be responsible for administering your trust. Trust administration involves several responsibilities, including protecting, liquidating, and distributing assets in your trust, as well as paying any taxes and managing creditor claims. You should choose a successor trustee who you can trust to administer your estate correctly and efficiently.

Most of our clients will choose a family member or close friend as their successor trustee. If your family members are responsible and generally get along, you have uncomplicated assets, and you have a simple estate plan, choosing a family member or a close friend to administer your trust may be the best option for you.

While successor trustees have control over trust assets after your death or incapacity, your agent under a power of attorney may have control over assets in your personal name while you are alive. Therefore, your agent should be somebody you trust to manage your money responsibly for your benefit. This includes things like paying your bills, managing your retirement assets, selling your house, and handling medical bills.

For some people, choosing a corporate trustee or agent like TuckerAllen to act as a fiduciary is the best option for their estate planning needs. The following are examples of situations where a corporate trustee may be in your best interest:

No Suitable Family or Friends
You may have no close or trustworthy family members, no reliable friends you wish to burden, or maybe your only living family members are the same age as you. In any of these situations, we can take on the role of successor trustee or agent under a power of attorney and handle your assets for you.

Contentious or Blended Family
Unfortunately, sometimes you need to protect your beneficiaries from each other. If you believe there is any possibility of your beneficiaries disagreeing over your estate, if you have a blended family, or if you have beneficiaries with large personalities who may cause tension, a neutral third party who cannot be swayed by either side may be a good option.

Needs Where Timing & Correctness Are Essential
If you choose a law firm or corporation to serve as your agent, you guarantee somebody will be available to handle your finances in case of emergency. Law firms and corporations have multiple people on staff whose job is to handle your needs. You are not relying upon someone who has a full time job, a family, and other obligations to make time for your needs on top of their own. Instead, you get a professional who is trained and prepared to handle your needs as part of their job.

Special Needs Beneficiary
If you have a beneficiary who is or will likely be on government needs-based benefits like Medicaid or SSI, you need to have a Trustee who is well-versed in that area of the law. This is essential to prevent against a well-meaning misstep by a trustee which could disqualify your beneficiary from their current aid, or worse yet, have his or her inheritance taken by the government for reimbursement of prior care.

Large Estate or Complex Assets
Money and assets from large estates can often be passed down to multiple beneficiaries, spanning generations, over the course of many years, and the trustees you name will be responsible for administering any continuing trusts you create with those distributions. If you have a large estate, choosing a corporate trustee to administer your legacy trusts may be advantageous to ensure continuity and proper asset management.

Irrevocable Trusts
You may have a special type of trust, such as an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust or asset protection trust, where you need a trustee who is not yourself or anyone you have control over or a relationship with. In these situations we can act as an independent trustee and exercise all the necessary powers and responsibilities to meet your goals behind this type of trust.

How Corporate Fiduciaries Work

In many situations TuckerAllen will be happy to serve as your corporate trustee or agent under a financial power of attorney. We will discuss your estate plan, family situation, and assets to make sure we are a good fit for one another.

When drafting your estate planning documents, we simply have you nominate TuckerAllen to serve as your trustee or agent. We can serve as your initial agent or trustee, or we can be your last resort if the family member or friend you listed cannot serve. If and when we are called to serve, we step in and begin administering your trust or acting under your power of attorney.

Fiduciary Services

Trustee Fee Services for Revocable Trusts

No fees are assessed until we assume Trusteeship at your death or incapacity. Thereafter, fees are assessed annually. Most trusts with outright distribution are settled in one year or less.
Greater of 1% of the net value of trust assets or hourly on first $500,000
Lesser of .85% of trust value or hourly on next 1.5M
Lesser of .5% of trust value or hourly above 2M

Corporate Agent Services under POA

Fees are hourly, based on your needs during your incapacity.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) Trustee Services

We will coordinate payment of an annual premium and send Crummey notices (right of withdrawal) to your beneficiaries. Fees average $185-$500 a year, but it depends on the number of policies you have and the number of beneficiaries we need to send notices to.

Fiduciary Fee Schedule Breakdown – Revocable Trusts


Our Commitment to No Minimum Fees

As estate planning attorneys, we want to ensure your hard-earned money is primarily used for your benefit and then your beneficiaries’, not depleted by disproportionate fees. Even if you have significant assets now, we cannot be sure that your trust will have significant assets upon your death. In the past, we have seen beneficiaries struggle to secure a corporate Trustee if their trusts are depleted to modest amounts after death.

At TuckerAllen, we are invested in seeing your estate plan come to fruition. We will have met you, prepared your documents, heard about your family, and want to serve your wishes even after your passing. We have set up our fees to accommodate this, and will happily work with our existing client’s small trusts. We will not decline to serve as your trustee after your death purely on the basis of the amount of trust assets.

Benefits of TuckerAllen Serving as Trustee

  • Clear, upfront pricing without additional administrative or advisory fees
  • Lower overall fees than traditional corporate trustees
  • We are bound by the attorney code of ethics, so we look out for the trust, not our bottom line
  • We are lawyers experienced in the field of trusts, and not merely “Trust Officers” following a script
  • We are already familiar with your documents and situation, and invested in its success, since we worked with you draft your estate plan

Our Trustee Fee Includes

  • Thorough review of trust
  • Initial meetings with a Co-Trustee and Beneficiaries to set expectations
  • Admitting your pour-over will to probate
  • Publishing a notice to cut off creditor claims
  • Issuance of required notices to beneficiaries
  • Quarterly meetings with a financial planner for ongoing trusts to ensure active investment management
  • Coordination with an accountant to file all applicable tax returns
  • An annual and final accounting to beneficiaries
  • Payment of appropriate bills
  • Liquidation of appropriate assets
  • Connections to a wide variety of reliable professionals (real estate agents, title companies, estate sale companies, and more) to facilitate the trust’s goals
  • Regular updates with beneficiaries

Additional Fees & Services

  • Private sale of real estate (we offer separate flat rate fees for these services)
  • Management of real estate/rental property
  • Litigation, including claims of undue influence, unlawful detainer and evictions
  • Distributions to more than 5 beneficiaries per trust or more frequently than 3x a month per trust