I am the only person caring for my ailing friend. She has no family who’ve stepped up. She wants to pay me for all of my time helping her as Power of Attorney and Trustee. Can I take her up on this?
– Self-Conscious on Coronation
Self-Conscious on Coronation:
I understand where you are coming from. I see it often when one family member takes primary responsibility as Agent or Trustee. These caregivers often feel under-appreciated and burned out, especially when nobody else steps up.
The first step is to look at the estate planning documents. Are there provisions in the documents addressing compensation to the Agent or Trustee? Some Trusts limit compensation. If not, California law allows the Agent or Trustee to receive a “reasonable compensation” for their time.
With help from an attorney, you can determine a “reasonable compensation.” If you are going to pay yourself, it is critical that you keep very good records of your time, as this might be shared with the other beneficiaries of the estate at your friend’s death. Do not just “guess” an amount to pay yourself out of thin air!
Many caregivers serving in an official capacity forget to keep excellent records of the income and expenses of the estate, and also forget to adequately track their time, which could lead to all sorts of family problems / questions / accusations of malfeasance later.
In this video I talk about “Trustee Compensation“.