Margolis Bloom & D’Agostino attorneys often serve as trustees of their clients’ trusts either when no family members are available to fill the role or to provide professional trustee services as co-trustee with the client, a family member or other trusted nonprofessional chosen by the client. They are also often appointed as successor trustees to serve in the event that the original trustee or trustees can no longer serve for any reason.
When serving as trustee, Margolis Bloom & D’Agostino attorneys and staff provide the following services:
- Payment of bills and other distributions
- Working with clients and beneficiaries to develop spending plans that balance payment for current needs and preservation of asset for anticipated future needs
- Investment supervision (more on this below)
- Supervision of tax return preparation
- Annual meetings
Margolis Bloom & D’Agostino handles investments in a number of different ways depending on the client’s choice and the size of the trust. These include:
- For smaller trusts (with less than $500,000 in assets, though this is not a hard line), the investments are generally held in low-cost mutual funds.
- For somewhat larger trusts (generally between $500,000 and $1 million), an outside financial manager handles the investments, either one with whom we work regularly or with one chosen by the client.
- For large trusts (generally over $1 million in investible assets), we often work with the trust department of a large national law firm that provides all of the services and accountability of a trust company.
Our fee arrangements also vary depending on the investment arrangement and the size of the trust, but generally fall into these structures:
- For smaller trusts, we charge our standard hourly rates plus ½ of 1.0% of the trust assets annually.
- For medium-sized trusts, we charge 1.0% of the trust assets annually. Be aware that the financial manager charges an additional fee.
- For larger trusts managed by the trust department of a national law firm with which we work, the other firm has agreed to a 25% discount on their normal fees, which is the amount we charge. Their fees start at 1.25% per year, decreasing for amounts above $2 million. There is no additional financial management fee.
Tax preparation costs are an additional fee charged by the tax preparer. Also, while the fees described above are all inclusive in terms of the trustee function, the firm will charge the trust its customary hourly rates for related legal work. For example,
- If the trust were to purchase or contribute to the purchase of a residence for a trust beneficiary, the firm would charge for its time representing the trust or the beneficiary in the purchase.
- We would charge for our time researching public benefits eligibility issues, applying for benefits on behalf of a trust beneficiary, or pursuing any appeals.
- Researching and enrolling in health insurance as necessary and appropriate.
Special Needs Trusts
We often act as trustees of special needs trusts for individuals who have one or more disabilities. This also involves more “hands on” work coordinating benefits, planning for future needs, and responding to current needs than traditional professional trustees are ready and willing to take on. However, given our mission we welcome the opportunity to take on this role and to work with families and other care providers going the extra mile for their loved ones.