Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Hawaii

What is the legally stated schedule of Trustee fees in Hawaii?

My Grandfather hired a taxation lawyer to prepare his will. In addition to preparing the will, this lawyer appointed himself the Executor and Trustee of my Grandfather's estate. We received the accounting of the estate for the past decade and it appears this lawyer/executor/trustee has severely inflated his fees. Please inform where I can find the legally stated schedule of Trustee fees in Hawaii. Thanks you.

Asked on 10/16/05, 3:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Elizabeth Powell ELizabeth Powell PS Inc

Re: What is the legally stated schedule of Trustee fees in Hawaii?

There is no legally stated schedule of Trustee fees. A lawyer's fees are supposed to be reasonable, and as you can imagine, there is a lot of latitude in that adjective.

I can't really determine whether your grandfather's estate is in Washington or in Hawaii, but my advice is the same regardless.

Each state has its own Bar Association in charge of lawyers. In WA, there are restrictions prohibiting a lawyer from preparing an estate plan which names the lawyer as a beneficiary. I don't know about Hawaii: I don't practice there.

Sounds like the lawyer *may* be walking a fine line between being a trustee and being a beneficiary, especially if the accounting is not reasonable.

I don't know, I'm not looking at it. But here's what I think you should do:

Contact the Bar Association (either WA or HI) and tell them what you are telling me. This will not cost you anything. The WA Bar has a program that addresses fee disputes, and also disciplinary counsel that looks into allegations of unprofessional conduct by lawyers.

You may be asked to provide more information to the Bar, and they'll want it in writing. I wish you the best and I know you will get a straight answer from the Bar.

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Answered on 10/16/05, 11:01 pm

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