RENT Magazine Q3 '21

What Does Your Trustee Do? Serving as a professional trustee when clients need it, I understand the importance of choosing the right trustee for your estate plan. Your trustee will have an immense responsibility. You may have a family member who is the best option and it’s important to understand what the trustee will be handling. Your trustee will be responsible for deciding how money and other assets flow in and out of the trust. While the trust is being settled, a beneficiary may ask for an immediate disbursement, for example, and the trustee will have to make a decision. Your trustee has the duty of making sure that all beneficiaries understand what exactly is in the trust and disbursing the assets to each beneficiary. There are many issues that can pop up here. What if there are outstanding loans that were made to a beneficiary that need to be paid back? The trustee will need to make sure the accounting is done right and may need to hire a CPA to help. Maybe there are outstanding debts, such as a mortgage or credit cards, that need to be paid off before assets are distributed. The trustee must step in to figure this out too. Lawyers, real estate professionals and tax experts may need to be hired depending on the circumstances. If there are multiple properties involved in an estate settlement, the trustee may need some help figuring out all the tax implications. Allows you to transfer your assets privately to avoid probate. You can decide what happens to your property if you get sick or injured and need help.

The Big Takeaway Estate planning is for all of us and if you don’t handle it, the courts will step in and make decisions for you. It’s also not only about transferring assets at death, but also about taking control of your situation right now. There may be estate planning strategies you want to take advantage of right now. Keep in mind that the winds of change are blowing in Washington. There are massive new tax proposals being debated in Congress right now with tax increases we have not seen in forty years. There is talk of taking away important planning tools that property owners have utilized for many years to help transfer assets to the next generation. Now is the time to get a fresh look at your planning to ensure you and your family and your assets are protected.

Bradley Barth, Esq. Partner BarthCalderon, LLP (714) 704-4828 ext. 114

Bradley Barth is a partner and Supervising Attorney of the firm’s Transactional and Estate Planning Department encompassing business formations and transactional matters, estate planning, domestic and offshore asset protection, probate, trust administration, tax and real estate law. He views his role as a trusted and long-term advocate of asset protection planning in helping his clients achieve and protect their financial goals and lifetime accomplishments.

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