In all court-supervised cases the probate court approves reasonable fees. The California courts also require that a fee statement be submitted in advance, thus locking in the billing rate. In non-court-supervised cases fees may be addressed in the estate planning documents but that does not lock in the rate for a successor not named. As each fiduciary has their own fee schedule, you should discuss what that rate is, how time is calculated, and when invoicing shall be expected.
Anyone who has taken the time to develop an estate plan and wishes to have an experienced professional administer it. If you have concerns that your family may fight, then avoid the sibling rivalry by selecting a licensed fiduciary -- someone experienced working as a trustee, conservator, and power of attorney.
Pro-bono services are limited to 10-20% of our caseload and dependent on income and assets, current and future, and only available for conservatorships or powers of attorney. In such cases, we still bill for our time and if it is determined that a person does have funds then they are responsible for payment. However, if there are no funds, we will write off the loses.
Blended billing is a method where a single fiduciary may attempt to provide pricing levels to offer flexibility in the services that he offers, much like you would find in an office with several staff members. Unfortunately it appears to be the norm that the fiduciary increases his rate and then puts the core services at a rate equivalent to that of a flat-rate fiduciary. For example, a trustee (fiduciary) may charge a rate of $225/hr for his services, $195/hr for an associate to attend to other tasks under the supervision of the trustee, $125/hr for administrative tasks, and $100/hr to schedule appointments or answer calls. If 50% of all tasks are administrative, 40% at associate, and 10% at trustee then your weighted rate is $163/hr.
Konsulati does not offer blended billing. Our method of automation reduces the time needed to perform a task. The difference is in the experience to complete a task efficiently. Thus with our fixed hourly rate you’ll pay less compared to a blended billing model.