There’s more to Trust than just a document!

If you chronicle the day of a trustee you might find that much more happens than just asset gathering and distribution.  I had a great conversation with a referral from one of my clients who lives out of state and he was sharing some of his experiences as trustee.  I thought they might be worth sharing.

The first thing he did was attempt to secure the home, which is pretty common, gather the gold coins, firearms, silver, get those under control.  But when he arrived, he determined that he wasn’t the first one to get there.  It seems one of the children had a key and basically took the “first to arrive – first to inherit” approach.  Now he is trying to recall and recover the items removed.

And of course, his friend had one child on the checking account so that child could go to the store and pick up things.  There is often one child that lives closest and is rewarded with this responsibility.  Naturally the trustee thought everything should be distributed equally, but it appears the child on the account remembers “doing more” than the others and is keeping the proceeds of the account.

Then you have those pesky loans parents make their children.  If the trust document did not instruct the trustee to  forgive the loans, most other siblings believe those should be paid back, and apparently the record keeping left something to be desired.

Of course he still has the issue of life insurance claims to file, income tax returns to file, liquidating the real estate and personal property (what’s left) and naturally the homeowners insurance coverage is being cancelled since the house is unoccupied.

We discussed the plans for a distribution this year as well.  As you can imagine, everyone would like their inheritance.  He thought that was a good idea, but since the Will was never admitted to their court, the claims period has not started to run and he really isn’t certain if other claims exist.  It seems that he is not thrilled about the idea of being personally responsible for outstanding claims since creditors have not been properly notified.  To make matters worse, one child living out of state and estranged from his family refuses to correspond, so he has no idea what is going on in that corner of the trustee world.

This conversation lasted quite a bit longer than I have space to write about.  But if you are reading this article, you survived the anticipated Mayan apocalypse and the world has not come to an end.  You still have plenty of time to get your financial house in order.  It is after all the first of the year and time to follow through on those resolutions.

Hope 2013 is a great year for you, your family and our Country!