Estate planning overlooks hefty fees charged by trustee companies

The fees charged by trustee companies are higher than comparable services.

When what was once an excercise in service became and excercise in servicing you( Old Dog)

the word “trust” was redundant in the entity described as a trustee company. I have had more than 50 years’ experience with a prominent trustee company; at the beginning the trust manager was experienced and knowledgeable in investment and property management and was able to reconcile his responsibilities to the deceased and to the beneficiaries. By the final years the trust managers were less experienced, constantly changing, sometimes entry-level employees who had to refer matters of investment and property management elsewhere in the company. By the end the company had become one-size-fits-all aimed to maximise the return to the company, the level of experience in property management was minimal and engagement with beneficiaries dismissive.

For example, Perpetual (which swallowed The Trust Company in 2013 which, in turn, had taken over Permanent Trustees in 2002) has a minimum upfront fee to administer a testamentary trust of $3125 or 1.1 per cent of gross assets, plus a minimum annual fee of $4125 or 1.375 per cent of assets. Thus a testamentary trust with $3 million in assets has an upfront fee of $33,000 and an annual fee of $41,250. That is merely for accounting

Estate planning overlooks hefty fees charged by trustee companies

Illustration: Matt Golding