This is my first year being a trustee, so I'm not sure what to charge. Hoping someone with experience can chime in. (this is in KS, btw)
Last february I drove 1,400 miles to help my mom deal with an inheritance that her brothers stole from her.
I spent 3 months there, dealing with my uncles, lawyers and researching the legalities of everything that had happened to make sure everything was being addressed, and helping with a large number of unrelated issues. I created the trust with what money they hadn't managed to steal at this time. (after helping her spend-down some of it without breaking any rules)
There was also a period where we were advised not to use the trust, but that I could reimburse myself (by her lawyers) for anything I bought out of my own pocket. Which was about $700 worth.
A month after returning home my uncles returned the money, and I had to drive back to withdraw it to deposit it into the trust. Before doing that, though, I helped her purchase a car and various things. That was a 2 week trip. So, close to 4 months total helping almost full time.
Since then I've had to put at least a few hours in every day answering questions about the trust, helping her shop for things, giving her bank statements, explaining what she's spent her money, investigating many complaints of her caretakers spending more than they should have, etc.
If I consider the total miles (about 7k miles --> $3k), and total hours (about 500 --> $10k @ $20/hr (what her lawyer originally told me charge)), and the reimbursements the total is in the $14k range. Which seems entirely "unreasonable," especially considering that she only got about $170k (and only about $140k of that made it to the trust)
Her lawyer said that I can only charge 1.5%. But even applying that to the pre-trust number (can i?) it seems unreasonably low. I personally "feel" like 5k is reasonable. But feelings wont help against medicaid spanking me...
So, what is reasonable here? Should I hire a lawyer to help me? Can that lawyer be hired by the trust without also having a conflict of interest? (e.g. technically being her lawyer, and thus in the ethical position to low-ball me)