Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 28, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:2




Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 28, 2018 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown



Last week, I shared the first part of this series 
explaining the powers and duties that come with 
serving as trustee. Here in part two, I discuss the rest 
of a trustee’s core responsibilities. 

 Being asked to serve as trustee can be a huge 
honor—but it’s also a major responsibility. Indeed, the 
job entails a wide array of complex duties, and trustees 
are both ethically and legally required to effectively 
execute those functions or face significant liability. 

 To this end, you should thoroughly understand 
exactly what your role as trustee requires before 
agreeing to accept the position. Last week, I 
highlighted three of a trustee’s primary functions, 
and here we add on to that list, starting with one of 
the most labor-intensive of all duties—managing and 
accounting for a trust’s assets.

Manage and account for trust assets

Before a trustee can sell, invest, or make distributions 
to beneficiaries, he or she must take control of, 
inventory, and value all trust assets. Ideally, this 
happens as soon as possible after the death of the 
grantor in the privacy of a lawyer’s office. If assets 
are properly titled in the name of the trust, there’s no 
need for court involvement—unless a beneficiary or 
creditor forces it with a claim against the trust. 

 In the best case, the person who created the trust 
and was the original trustee—usually the grantor—
will have maintained an up-to-date inventory of all 
trust assets. If not, gathering those assets can be a major 
undertaking, so contact a trusted legal advisor to help 
review the trust and determine the best course of action. 
The value of some assets, like financial accounts, 
securities, and insurance, will be easy to determine. 
But with other property—real estate, vehicles, 
businesses, artwork, furniture, and jewelry—a 
trustee may need to hire a professional appraiser 
to determine those values. With the assets secured 
and valued, the trustee must then identify and 
pay the grantor’s creditors and other debts. 
Be careful about ensuring regularly scheduled 
payments, such as mortgages, property taxes, and 
insurance, are promptly paid, or trustees risk personal 
liability for late payments and/or other penalties. 
Trustees are also required to prepare and file the 
grantor’s tax returns. This includes the final income 
tax return for the year of the decedent’s death and any 
prior years’ returns on extension, along with filing an 
annual return during each subsequent year the trust 
remains open. For high-value estates, trustees may 
also have to file a federal estate tax return. 

 During this entire process, it’s vital that trustees 
keep strict accounting of every transaction (bills 
paid and income received) made using the trust’s 
assets, no matter how small. In fact, if a trustee fails to 
fully pay the trust’s debts, taxes, and expenses before 
distributing assets to beneficiaries, he or she can be 
held personally liable if there are insufficient assets to 
pay for outstanding estate expenses. 

 Given this, it’s crucial to work with a trusted legal 
advisor and a qualified accountant to properly account 
for and pay all trust-related expenses and debts as well 
as ensure all tax returns are filed on behalf of the trust. 
Personally administer the trust

While trustees are nearly always permitted to hire 
outside advisers like lawyers, accountants, and even 
professional trust administration services, trustees 
must personally communicate with those advisors 
and be the one to make all final decisions on trust 

 So even though trustees can delegate much of the 
underlying legwork, they’re still required to serve as 
the lead decision maker. What’s more, trustees are 
ultimately responsible if any mistakes are made. In 
the end, a trustee’s full range of powers, duties, and 
discretion will depend on the terms of the trust, so 
always refer to the trust for specific instructions when 
delegating tasks and/or making tough decisions. 

Clear communication with beneficiaries

To keep them informed and updated as to the 
status of the trust, trustees are required to provide 
beneficiaries with regular information and reports 
related to trust matters. Typically, trustees provide 
such information on an annual basis, but again, the 
level of communication depends on the trust’s terms. 

 In general, trustees should provide annual status 
reports with complete and accurate accounting of 
the trust’s assets. Moreover, trustees must permit 
beneficiaries to personally inspect trust property, 
accounts, and any related documents if requested. 
Additionally, trustees must provide an annual tax 
return statement (Schedule K-1) to each beneficiary 
who’s taxed on income earned by the trust. 
Entitled to reasonable fees for services rendered
Given such extensive duties and responsibilities, 
trustees are almost always entitled to receive 
reasonable fees for their services. Determining 
what’s “reasonable,” however, can be challenging. 
Entities like accounting firms, lawyers, banks, and 
trust administration companies typically charge a 
percentage of the funds under their management or 
a set fee for their time. In the end, what’s reasonable 
is based on the amount of work involved, the level 
of funds in the trust, the trust’s other expenses, and 
whether the trustee was chosen for their professional 

 Since the trustee’s duties are comprehensive, 
complex, and foreign to most people, if you’ve 
been asked to serve as trustee, it’s critical you 
have a professional advisor who can give you a 
clear and accurate assessment of what’s required 
of you before you accept the position. And if 
you do choose to serve as trustee, it’s even more 
important that you have someone who can guide 
you step-by-step throughout the entire process. 
Dedicated to empowering your family, building 
your wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a 
mission to help parents protect what they love most. 
His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra 
Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an appointment to 
sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love 
and financial security for your family by calling 
626.355.4000 or visit for 
more information.

The Omega Principle: Seafood 
and the Quest for a Long Life 
and a Healthier Planet by Paul 

 By the bestselling author of Four Fish 
and American Catch, an eye-opening 
investigation of the history, science, and 
business behind omega-3 fatty acids, 
the "miracle compound" whose story is 
intertwined with human health and the 
future of our planet.Omega-3 fatty acids 
have long been celebrated by doctors 
and dieticians as key to a healthy heart 
and a sharper brain. Omega-3s are today 
a multi-billion dollar business, and 
sales are still growing apace--even as 
recent medical studies caution that the 
promise of omega-3s may not be what 
it first appeared. But a closer look at the 
omega-3 sensation reveals something 
much deeper and more troubling. The 
miracle pill is only the latest product of 
the reduction industry, a vast, global 
endeavor that over the last century has 
boiled down trillions of pounds of marine 
life into animal feed, fertilizer, margarine, 
and dietary supplements. The creatures 
that are the victims of that industry 
seem insignificant to the untrained 
eye, but turn out to be essential to the 
survival of whales, penguins, and fish of 
all kinds, including many that we love to 
eat. Behind these tiny molecules is a big 
story: of the push-and-pull of science 
and business; of the fate of our oceans in 
a human-dominated age; of the explosion 
of land food at the expense of healthier 
and more sustainable seafood; of the 
human quest for health and long life at all 
costs. James Beard Award-winning author 
Greenberg probes the rich and surprising 
history of omega-3s--from the dawn of 
complex life, when these compounds 
were first formed; to human prehistory, 
when the discovery of seafood may have 
produced major cognitive leaps for our 
species; and on to the modern era, when 
omega-3s may point the way to a bold 
new direction for our food system. With 
wit and boundless curiosity, Greenberg 
brings us along on his travels--from Peru 
to Antarctica, from the Canary Islands 
to the Amalfi Coast--to reveal firsthand 
the practice and repercussions of our 
unbalanced way of eating. The book is a 
powerful argument for a more deliberate 
and forward-thinking relationship to the food we eat and 
the oceans that sustain us.

The Promise of the Grand Canyon: John 
Wesley…by John F. Ross

"A bold study of an eco-visionary at a watershed 
moment in US history."-Nature. A timely, thrilling 
account of a man who, as an explorer, dared to lead 
the first successful expedition down the Colorado 
through the Grand Canyon--and, as an 
American visionary, waged a bitterly-
contested campaign for environmental 
sustainability in the American West. 
When John Powell became the first 
person to navigate the entire Colorado 
River, through the Grand Canyon, he 
completed what Lewis and Clark had 
begun nearly 70 years earlier--the final 
exploration of continental America. 
The son of an abolitionist preacher, 
a Civil War hero (who lost an arm at 
Shiloh), and a passionate naturalist 
and geologist, in 1869 Powell tackled 
the vast and dangerous gorge carved by 
the Colorado River and known today 
(thanks to Powell) as the Grand Canyon. 
With the book, Ross recreates Powell's 
expedition in all its glory and terror, 
but his second (unheralded) career 
as a scientist, bureaucrat, and land-
management pioneer concerns us today. 
Powell was the first to ask: how should 
the development of the west be shaped? 
How much could the land support? 
What was the role of the government 
and private industry in all of this? He 
began a national conversation about 
sustainable development when most 
everyone else still looked upon land 
as an inexhaustible resource. Though 
he supported irrigation and dams, 
his prescient warnings forecast the 
1930s dustbowl and the growing 
water scarcities of today. Practical, yet 
visionary, Powell didn't have all the 
answers, but was first to ask the right 

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of 
Bees by Thor Hanson

From the award-winning author of The 
Triumph of Seeds and Feathers, a natural 
and cultural history of the buzzing 
wee beasties that make the world go 
round. Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, 
essential, and, for the most part, unseen. 
While we might overlook them, they 
lie at the heart of relationships that 
bind the human and natural worlds. In 
Buzz, the beloved Hanson takes us on 
a journey that begins 125 million years 
ago, when a wasp first dared to feed 
pollen to its young. From honeybees 
and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, 
miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees 
have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, 
and our very existence. They've given us sweetness and 
light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of 
the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk 
of disappearing. As informative and enchanting as the 
waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz shows us why all bees 
are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book 
and you'll never overlook them again.The 3 reviews are 

All Things By Jeff Brown


Go to natural areas, walk slowly, breathe. Open all 
your senses. Get the medicine of simply being in the 
forest.Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in 
the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was 
developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become 
a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing 
in Japanese medicine. The idea is simple: if a person 
simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed 
way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative 
benefits to be achieved. We have always known this 
intuitively. But in the past several decades there have 
been over 140 scientific studies from 20 countries 
that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the 
healing effects of simply being in wild and natural 
areas. For example, many trees give off organic 
compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) 
cells that are part of our immune system’s way of 
fighting cancer. The scientifically-proven benefits 
of Shinrin-yoku include: Reduced blood pressure & 
stress, improved mood, increased ability to focus, 
even in children with ADHD, accelerated recovery 
from surgery or illness, increased energy level, 
improved sleep. Other results that you may experience 
as you make this part of your regular practice: Deeper 
and clearer intuition, increased flow of energy & life 
force, deepening of friendships, increase in sense 
of happiness. We learn to contact in new ways with 
the world around us. Forest therapy have roots in 
many cultures throughout history. John Muir wrote, 
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized 
people are beginning to find out that going to the 
mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.”



Real Life Tips from LIfe's Instruction Manual

YOGIC WISDOM - Practice Yoga / Live Life Better

Have you ever had a 
doctor, counselor, or friend 
recommend yoga? Ideally, 
a yoga practice will lead to 
better health, keep the body 
active, and settle the mind. 
Overall, a good practice can 
destress and take you out of 
distress.Take a broad view 
and remember each one 
of us is a dynamic multi-
layered being. The first layer of being is just the physical 
body, inside and out. As our vessel for experiencing life, 
it requires great care. As miraculous as it is, we’ve just got 
one body to get us through. Lifestyle, life experiences, and 
genetics all play a role in physical health. Yoga is unique 
in nourishing the physical body; it can strengthen, relieve 
pain, and create flexibility which makes being active 
easier. It can slow down and stretch the students who are 
athletes and make movement possible for someone who’s 
not moving at all.The second layer that we often are not 
tuned into is the energetic layer. We are energetic beings 
and the world and our experiences affect us. Conversely, 
we affect people around us with our energy, abundance of, 
or lack thereof. Breathing plays a huge role in our energetic 
layer. Between breath and movement, yoga shapes and 
calms. It tones, enlivens or soothes our energetic body. 
Even if this concept is hard to buy into, you can’t deny 
that you FEEL different or you SENSE enlivenment after 
yoga. Breathing in a conscious way or practicing specific 
breath techniques helps usher in this awareness and 
balance.Another layer is the mind and, oh wow - is there 
a lot going on there. We’ve got all sorts of battles going 
on, thoughts flying and ways of seeing the world and our 
lives. The mind needs nourishment just as much as the 
body. Intellect and self-identity need to be satisfied. Yoga, 
Breath, Sound (or Mantra) and Meditation help direct 
and soothe the mind. Simply, yoga and all its practices 
can settle the mind enough so clarity and connection to 
the greater universe can be found.After the mind, there 
are more layers which go to the deepest part of who we 
are. This is why the practice is so profound and deep. It 
pays attention to all these layers. Consider how each one 
of the layers affects one another: exercising the body may 
positively affect the mind or how meditation might relieve 
pain from a chronic condition. They all work together. 
More reasons to get practicing, stay practicing and lean 
into this ancient wisdom - to whatever degree you want. 
Please contact me to learn more: 

Namaste,Keely Totten, E-RYT 500 

-Yogini, Educator, Mentor 

Keely Totten 

E-RYT 500, Yoga & Meditation Teacher

Reiki Master Practitioner 

(626)841-2050 cell 

Lori A. Harris


Last week, Forbes Magazine published an opinion 
piece suggesting that the public libraries should be 
replaced by the online retailer, Amazon. The public 
reaction with quick and negative. It’s wonderful that 
the community had the opportunity to consider 
and appreciate our libraries. 

 The article prompted us to remember why we 
love them.

 Having a gratitude practice means that rather 
than waiting for something to happen to appreciate, 
we live in a grateful state. We bend toward 
gratitude and look for the good in every situation 
and condition. It means we notice. We decide to 
generate gratitude.

 It’s the act of pausing to notice those things that 
make a difference.

 I recently heard the author Ernest J. Gaines 
interviewed on the “What it Takes” podcast. The 
interviewer asked about him becoming a writer.

 He spoke of many influences, his parents, his 
aunt, the elders on the farm where he lived as a 
child. Then he mentioned the library.

 He said he used an Andrew Carnegie Library 
in Vallejo, California. He specified that he used 
a Carnegie Library. Attribution is an important 
aspect of gratitude. His specificity was an act of 
grace and appreciation. 

 Mr. Carnegie came to the United States as a poor 
child from Scotland but died 
as one of the richest men in the 
world. Many people focus on 
his wealth, but I appreciate his 
service. I believe his greatest 
influence was the $60 million 
he donated to the support of 
the public library system. The 
ripple of his gift is eternal, 
he educated and touched so 
many lives. In the age of Google, it’s easy to forget 
about the impact of libraries, but getting lost in the 
pages of a book or the stacks of a library will never 
be replaced by instant access, electronic books.

 Washington, D.C. is the home of the first Andrew 
Carnegie Library and in 1903 was the only public 
place that African Americans were welcome to use 
the public bathroom in the District of Columbia. 
It was open to women, children and all races. Mr. 
Gaines spoke of marveling at being allowed in the 
library without restriction it was the first place he 
experienced equanimity.

 Want to play it forward? Visit your local library 
and express your appreciation to the staff.


 Lori Harris is a lawyer and gratitude coach. You 
can learn more about her at her website or download 
her app at

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