No Fees For Trustee Of Special Needs Trust.

Plaintiff served as trustee of a special needs trust for four and a half months. The trust specified that any trustee who succeeded the public guardian was not entitled to compensation. Nonetheless plaintiff billed the estate $108,771.07, and the trial court awarded him $51,285.63, likely because it was the court who had appointed that particular trustee.  The appellate court reversed, noting that a trustee is entitled to compensation for its services either as provided in the “trust instrument,” if that document “provides for the trustee‟s compensation” (Probate Code section 15680, subdivision (a)), or “reasonable compensation” where “the trust instrument does not specify the trustee‟s compensation.” Prob. Code §15681. The appellate court concluded:  “It is apparent from the plain words of the two statutes in question that the provisions generally confer authority on the probate court to appoint a temporary trustee. There is neither mention of compensation generally nor conferment of specific authority to compensate a temporary trustee differently from the amount specified in the trust instrument.” Thorpe v. Audelith Jenivee Reed, as Trustee  (Cal. App. Sixth Dist.; December 13, 2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1381.

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