The cellular environment contains numerous ribonucleases that are dedicated to process mRNA transcripts that have been targeted for degradation. Here, we review the three dimensional structures of the ribonuclease complexes (Pan2-Pan3, Ccr4-Not, Xrn1, exosome) and the mRNA decapping enzymes (Dcp2, DcpS) that are involved in mRNA turnover. Structures of major parts of these proteins have been experimentally determined. These enzymes and factors do not act in isolation, but are embedded in interaction networks which regulate enzyme activity and ensure that the appropriate substrates are recruited. The structural details of the higher order complexes that form can, in part, be accurately deduced from known structural data of sub-complexes. Interestingly, many of the ribonuclease and decapping enzymes have been observed in structurally different conformations. Together with experimental data, this highlights that structural changes are often important for enzyme function. We conclude that the known structural data of mRNA decay factors provide important functional insights, but that static structural data needs to be complemented with information regarding protein motions to complete the picture of how transcripts are turned over. In addition, we highlight multiple aspects that influence mRNA turnover rates, but that have not been structurally characterized so far.