Planning for Life

What's a Trustee to Do Without Guidance? Provide a Letter of Wishes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 4, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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So you've been appointed trustee. Now what do you do?

Of course, there are your administrative functions in terms of investments, bookkeeping and paying taxes. But how do you decide how much to give each of the beneficiaries? When? For what purposes?

Some trusts are quite simple -- you're directed to distribute the income, invest the principal and distribute what's left when the life beneficiaries pass away.

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Topics: trustee, trusts

UBS as IRA Custodian has Fiduciary Duty to Beneficiary

Posted by Alison Blum on November 7, 2018

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In UBS Financial Services, Inc. v. Donna M. Aliberti (Mass. App. No. 17-P-1169, October 4, 2018), the Massachusetts Appeals Court concluded that a custodian holding an individual retirement account, or IRA, has contractual and fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries, reversing the dismissal of case brought against the company for failure to distribute IRA proceeds.

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Topics: trustee, Estate Planning

How Many Agents Do You Have?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 24, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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You may have a lot of people who you have appointed to act for you at various times who are your agents. And you may be an agent for a number of other people without thinking about it, or perhaps without even knowing about your role.

Agency relationships can be created in a myriad of ways. Some come about formally via specific nomination in an estate planning document, while others result from a position of trust and authority created in less formal ways. Here are some of the agents you may have or roles in which you may serve:

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Topics: trustee, proxy, durable power of attorney

Be Nice to Your Beneficiaries, or Don't Be Their Trustee

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 16, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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Dad created an estate plan that distributed three quarters of his estate to three of his children and the fourth quarter in trust for one of his daughters, Elaine, and her two children, Paul and Alicia. He named another daughter, Madeline, and her daughter, Paula, as trustees.

Dad died in 2001. The trust for Elaine and her children originally held $542,042. For the next 15 years, Madeline and Paula distributed nothing to Elaine or her children, until 2016 when a court ordered them to make distributions to Elaine so that she "could pay her medical bills and obtain housing." Madeline and Paula did, however, spend more than $50,000 paying for storage of personal items left to Elaine and paid themselves and their attorney.

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Topics: trustee, trusts

What Happens If Your Trustee Can't Serve?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 14, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

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So you've appointed your brother-in-law as the trustee for a trust for your children in case you die before they reach age 25. Or he and his wife have appointed you as trustee on a special needs trust for their daughter with Down's syndrome. Or, finally, your mother has her assets in a revocable trust. In any of these situations, what happens if the trustee becomes incapacitated?

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Topics: trustee

Choosing a Trustee for A Child’s Special Needs Trust

Posted by Karen Mariscal on November 7, 2017

by Karen B. Mariscal

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Topics: Special Needs Child, Special Needs Trust, special needs planning, special needs, trustee, trusts

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