Understanding Non-Professional Trustee Fees in New York (2024)

In the realm of estate management, comprehending non-professional trustee fees is pivotal. These fees, structured on commissions rather than a flat rate, encompass two primary categories: annual fees and paying-out fees. Delving into the nuances of these fees unveils a complex framework that mandates careful consideration and expert guidance.

Annual Fees: Navigating the Commission Maze

The trustee's yearly commissions, a fundamental aspect of the role, hinge upon a specific, legally outlined amount. The commission's magnitude fluctuates in tandem with the trust's principal size:

  • $10.50 per $1,000 for the first $400,000 of the trust's principal.
  • $4.50 per $1,000 for the subsequent $600,000 of the principal.
  • $3.00 per $1,000 for the remainder of the trust.

Yet, the calculation of non-professional trustee fees proves intricate, demanding astute comprehension. Engaging in this realm sans the guidance of an estate attorney may lead to undesirable repercussions.

Paying Out Fees: Unveiling the Commission Structure

Each disbursement from the trust entails a paying-out commission of one percent (1%) directed towards the trustee, adhering strictly to the law's stipulations.

The Annual Fee Conundrum: Payment and Timeframes

Entitlement to annual fees empowers the trustee to opt for the timing and frequency of fee collection. Whether commencing or concluding the year, and whether aligning with a calendar or fiscal year, the trustee wields discretion, albeit within an annual payout limit.

The Intricacies of Fee Allocation in Multiple Trustee Scenarios

Trustee fees gain complexity when multiple individuals assume this role. Distribution dynamics pivot on the trust's value:

  • Trusts under $100,000 grant each trustee the full commission.
  • Trusts between $100,000 and $400,000: one or two trustees receive the full commission, while more than two trustees necessitate division among all.
  • Trusts surpassing $400,000: one to three trustees claim the full commission, whereas more than three entail a proportional split among trustees.

Prorated Fees for Partial Years: Legal Perspectives

SCPA § 2309 (2), par. 2, outlines the proportional reduction of annual commissions for periods shorter than 12 months. Although clarity on the calculation method remains elusive, prorating appears justifiable to ensure accurate fee adjustments.

Tax Implications: Unveiling the Taxable Nature of Trustee Fees

Critical to note is the taxable nature of non-professional trustee fees. Beneficiaries might contemplate commission waivers, a potential avenue to mitigate income tax liabilities.

Navigating Trustee Responsibilities: The Legal Umbrella

A trustee's duties entail multifaceted reporting obligations to the court. Ensuring meticulous adherence to trust commission calculations remains paramount to avoid legal ramifications.

Entrusting your trustee duties to a skilled New York estate attorney safeguards compliance with the law. The Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, based in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY, and Queens, NY, stand poised to guide trustees through this intricate landscape. Contact us at 718-509-9774 or via email at [emailprotected] for expert assistance.

Understanding Non-Professional Trustee Fees in New York (2024)
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