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Seeking approval

Professional trustees must get prior agreement of their charges and allocate work appropriate to the level of skill and expertise required, says Lloyd Junor

8 April 2014

It is a well-established general rule of common law that trustees are not allowed to charge for trustee services (Robinson v Pett [1734] 3 P Wms 249), the office of trustee being a gratuitous one. So, it is standard practice for professional trustees to include a specific authorisation for payment of their ‘proper and reasonable’ fees via a standard charging clause in the will or trust instrument, pursuant to s28 of the Trustee Act 2000.

However, a beneficiary is entitled to have the charges made by a professional trustee investigated, and the trustee held liable to account for any charges made insofar as they are unreasonable or excessive. A common pitfall is thinking that such a clause enables fees to be char...

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