Understanding The Duties and Responsibilities of a Trustee

What You Will Need To Do At The Grantor’s Incapacity And Death

If you have been named as a trustee or successor trustee for someone’s trust, you may be wondering what you are supposed to do. Successor trustees can relax a bit, because you don’t do anything right now. You will only begin to act when the person becomes unable to manage his or her financial affairs due to incapacity, or when he or she dies. If you have been named as a trustee, you may already be acting in that capacity.

In either case, it is important that you understand your duties and responsibilities. This brochure will help. Let’s start with some explanations.

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Advance Directives/Living Wills are a Critical Component of Estate Planning

March 31, 2012 marked the seventh anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old who succumbed after her feeding tube was removed as part of a very public legal battle between her husband and parents.

As you may recall, Terri Schiavo was in a coma for nearly 15 years after she suffered cardiac arrest and sustained a brain injury.  Her husband, Michael Schiavo, alleged that his wife would not want to live in her incapacitated state; she had no written instructions in place.

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Blended Families Underscore the Need for Estate Planning

Anyone with children or modest assets should seriously consider some minimal estate planning, but the increasing number of blended families underscores the need for proper estate planning.

Blended families can involve children from a prior marriage as well as joint children, sometimes joking referred to as “his, hers and theirs.”  And blended families involve both younger and older couples, and nearly everyone in between.

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VA Benefits For Long-Term Care of Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

Many wartime veterans and their surviving spouses are currently receiving long-term care or will need some type of long-term care in the near future. The Veterans Administration has funds that are available to help pay for this care, yet many families are not even aware that these benefits exist.

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Understanding Losses: Liability Exposure

We live in a litigious society. Lawsuits abound, whether deserved or not. If you own property or stock that was purchased at a low price and has had high appreciation, it is at risk to litigation and creditors—even if you are not in a high-risk profession. Others may be in a private business such as medicine or law that bring with it additional exposures to monitor.

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Understanding Losses: Compounding Interest

Most investors are familiar with the magic of compounding interest but they often fail to realize that when the portfolio loses money, the math of compounding works against them. That’s because when a dollar is lost, it is not just a dollar but a compounded dollar that is lost, so the investor must regain more just to break even.

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