A typical part of any living trust is a paragraph allowing payment of “reasonable” trustees fees. Most people establishing trusts do not realize that there is a great deal of latitude in what reasonable trustees fees are.
Frequently we run across situations where parents will leave their residences to one or more of their children in their will or their trust. If they only have one child then the situation is usually okay but when there are multiple children and some are living in the house and some are not there can be problems. Allowing some children to live in Mom’s house messes up the other sibling’s inheritance.
We handled a case that spread across decades. It started out uncomplicated as we were the attorneys for a conservator who was handling the affairs of his distant cousin. The conservatee, Linda, was formerly Dr. Smith’s nurse. Linda had married Dr. Smith who apparently had a prior marriage and at least one daughter, but Dr. Smith had died many years ago and left his new wife, Linda, about $500,000 to live on.
The conservatee, Linda, became incompetent so a conservatorship was established to handle her money. We had been filing normal conservatorship accounting reports with the court every two years to prove how her money was being spent. When she passed away last year she had about $50,000 of the original $500,000 left and we had to determine how do distribute the estate and to whom.
We recently handled an unfortunate situation where a mature man who was quite successful and had a lot of assets including several companies married a younger woman. He was only married a couple of years when he unfortunately contracted cancer which turned out to be fatal.
We handled a probate court case involving a lady named Susan who died while in the middle of a divorce. She had an expensive ocean view house and lots of valuable furniture and jewelry. At first, nobody could figure out who owned what because Sue’s husband had moved out and filed for divorce. He was claiming in the divorce proceedings that he was owed a lot of money from Sue’s estate and Sue’s divorce attorney was making counter claims back against him because of the huge and lavish debts that he ran up buying fancy clothes in Los Angeles.