Trustee & Executor Services

The person you choose to serve as your trustee or executor is one of the most important decisions you will make.  Why?  Because your trustee will be responsible for administering your trust in accordance with the terms you provide in the trust instrument, and your executor must ensure that your estate ultimately pass to your beneficiaries as intended.  In other words, the success of your estate plan hinges on how well your trustee or executor does his or her job.  Poor investment decisions or a missed deadline can cost your beneficiaries dearly.  Similarly, unpopular or uninformed decisions about distributions or how to handle specific assets can cause a rift in the family that never mends.

Reasons to Consider a Professional Fiduciary

While it is may be appropriate for you to name a trusted family member or friend to serve as your trustee or executor in certain situations, administering a trust or settling an estate is a big job.  It takes not only considerable time and energy, but avoiding the many potential pitfalls requires specific expertise that comes only with years of experience.  Of course, we are happy to advise and support your trustee or executor in performing his or her duties, but sometimes the family dynamics or relative complexity involved is such that a family member or friend is the last person who should be responsible for administering your trust or estate.

Being a fiduciary requires attention to detail, accurate record-keeping, strong communication skills, unbiased sensitivity and long-term commitment.  Blended family situations, sibling rivalries, a beneficiary’s spendthrift ways or substance abuse, interference from a child’s spouse, or even simply children with vastly different personalities can all lead to problems when a family member or friend serves as trustee or executor.  Similarly, trusts or estates that include significant interests in real estate or closely held businesses require extra attention, and decisions involving such assets may be prone to being second-guessed by the beneficiaries.  In these situations, having a professional independent trustee or executor handle the matter, either alone or together with a family member or friend, can be invaluable.

As lawyers, problem-solving is second nature to us.  We are comfortable administering both trusts and estates that involve closely held businesses, real estate investments, unusual assets and difficult family relationships.  We are committed to providing highly personalized and confidential service in a professional, sensitive and cost-effective manner. 

If we serve as your trustee, we will be responsible for the ongoing management of your trust for your beneficiaries with both technical skill and sensitivity to their needs and preferences.  Our Fee Schedule for Funded Trusts and our Fee Schedule for Irrevocable Insurance Trusts (prior to the insured’s death) are based on the idea that the fees for simple, trouble-free trusts should be less than those for trusts that require more attention.  For that reason, our base trustee fee covers only those services that all trusts require.  Additional services are billed only when needed and at the hourly rate of the attorney or paralegal who provides the service.

If we serve as your executor, our goal will be to settle your estate in a timely and tax-efficient manner, relieving family members of a burdensome responsibility and minimizing potential conflict.  We will also coordinate with the trustee of any revocable or other trust that holds or receives assets at your death.  As with our trustee fee schedules, our Fee Schedule for Estate Settlement Services is structured so as to avoid having simpler estates subsidize the administration of more complex estates.  In most cases, our base estate settlement fee will include all tasks normally provided by a fiduciary in settling an estate, but additional services are billed on an hourly basis.

However, unlike a bank or trust company, we do not provide investment management services.  We instead delegate that responsibility to a professional investment advisor in keeping with our legal and ethical duties both as fiduciaries and as attorneys.  If you wish, you may direct in your will or trust that we continue to use the services of your preferred investment advisor.  This continuity can be important for your beneficiaries’ peace of mind.

Of course, we encourage you to compare our fees to those offered by others before making your final decision regarding the choice of trustee or executor. 

Virginia Estate & Trust Law has been focused on providing fiduciary services since 2004. Your clients will benefit from experienced attorneys with more than 170 years of collective experience in trust and estate services. Our Certified Trust and Financial Advisors offer a high degree of expertise and objectivity, as well as the ability to interact directly with beneficiaries on a regular basis. We offer a cost-effective alternative for your clients who would like to have an independent executor or trustee while retaining you as their investment advisor.

Contact us today to learn how we can help enhance your client’s wealth management needs.


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7202 Glen Forest Drive, Suite 204, Richmond, VA 23226
| Phone: 804-565-2300

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