Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 30, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page B:2




Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 30, 2019 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown



Being asked by a family member or close friend to 
serve as trustee for their trust upon their death 
can be an incredible honor. At the same time, 
however, serving as a trustee can be a massive 
responsibility—and the role is not for everyone. 
In fact, depending on the type of trust, the assets 
held by the trust, the specific terms of the trust, and 
the beneficiaries named, the job can require you 
to fulfill a wide range of complex (and potentially 
unpleasant) duties over the course of many 
years. What’s more, trustees are legally required 
to properly execute those duties or face liability. 
Given this, agreeing to serve as trustee is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Indeed, sometimes the 
best thing you can do for everyone involved is to politely decline the job. Remember, you don’t have to take 
it. On the other hand, you might enjoy the opportunity to be a trustee, so long as you understand what it entails.
It’s best to make your decision about serving as trustee with eyes wide open. Here’s a brief look at what 
the job will likely entail, along with some situations where you might want to seriously think twice 
before agreeing. 

What trustees do
As mentioned earlier, a trustee’s duties can vary tremendously depending on the size of the estate, 
the type of trust, and the trust’s specific instructions. That said, every trust comes with a few core 
requirements, primarily revolving around accounting for, managing, and distributing the trust’s 
assets to its named beneficiaries.

Regardless of the type of trust or the assets it holds, some of a trustee’s key responsibilities include: 
Identifying and protecting the trust assets 
Managing the trust assets for the term specified and distributing them properly 
Filing income and estate taxes for the trust 
Communicating regularly with beneficiaries 
Being scrupulously honest, highly organized, and keeping detailed records 
Closing the trust when the trust terms specify

Ultimately, trustees have a fiduciary duty to properly manage the trust in the best interest of all the 
trust beneficiaries. Consult with us for more in-depth details regarding the duties and responsibilities 
a specific trust will require of you as trustee.

Signs the trustee role might be a bad fit
Given the sense of loyalty and filial responsibility that’s often involved, it might feel difficult to 
turn the trustee role down. But for several reasons, saying “no thanks” can sometimes be the best 
decision, not only for you, but for all parties involved. 
Of course, this is an entirely personal decision and one you’ll ultimately have to make for yourself 
after considering all the factors. That said, here are a few red flags that can signal the role might 
be better fulfilled by someone other than you: 
Your job, family, and/or health situation is such that you won’t be able to give the 
job the time and attention it deserves. Some trusts can require far more work than others, and if the 
role would seriously impede your own life, you might consider declining. 
You don’t get along with the beneficiaries. If there are underlying conflicts or bad blood with 
the people you’ll be required to serve, this could make the job incredibly difficult and unpleasant for 
The trust’s terms are vague and/or unclear, leaving you in the position to make difficult 
decisions you don’t feel qualified to make. Such grey areas are especially troublesome when it comes 
to distributing trust assets to young adult beneficiaries, who might not be the most responsible 
with their spending and/or lifestyle. 
It’s not clear exactly what assets the trust creator (grantor) owned, and/or the estate is 
highly unorganized. Tracking down and managing unorganized and/or poorly funded assets can be 
a massive undertaking—and a potential liability. 
Lawsuits are likely or already underway. As trustee, it’s your duty to defend the trust against 
lawsuits, and just doing this can be a huge expenditure of your time and energy. What’s more, if a 
lawsuit against the trust is successful, it could seriously reduce the trust’s value, making your job 
infinitely more challenging.

We can help you decide
Given the serious nature of a trustee’s responsibilities, you can meet with us for help deciding 
whether to accept the job. We can offer a clear, unbiased assessment of what will be required of you 
based on the specific trust’s terms, assets, and beneficiaries.
And if you do decide to accept the trustee role, we can guide you step-by-step through the entire 
process, ensuring you effectively fulfill all of the grantor’s wishes with minimal risk. Serving as 
trustee can be a lot of work, but if you go into the job with eyes wide open and have the proper 
guidance, it can be an immensely rewarding experience, too. 

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.

EDUCATED: A Memoir by Tara Westover 

This highly praised book is an unforgettable memoir about a young girl 
who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a 
PhD from Cambridge University. Born to survivalists in the mountains of 
Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. 
Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was 
no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene 
when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another 
brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her 
quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across 
continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she 
wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.“Beautiful 
and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, 
the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should 
we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow 
up?”—Vogue“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her 
unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional 
at all, and resonant for many others.”—The New York Times Book Review


In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the 
ages could change everything…Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her 
grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his 
childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the 
man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into 
another time. The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous 
place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and 
under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. 
Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, 
convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own. As tensions 
rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn 
into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must 
decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. 
But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

THE GOOD EGG by Jory John (Author), Pete Oswald (Illustrator)

From the bestselling creators of The Bad Seed, a timely story about not 
having to be Grade A perfect! Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good 
egg indeed. But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ 
rotten.As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to 
crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect. So, he decides 
enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…Dynamic duo Jory 
John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of 
the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love (even 
if they are sometimes a bit rotten).Perfect for reading aloud and shared story 
time.The 3 reviews are from

All Things By Jeff Brown


Dan Laguardia went to a California car dealership witn plans to trade in his 2005 Toyota Scion and 
buy a new auto. But then he saw another customer walk out crying and asked a salesman what had 
happened. Laguardia discovered that Kayla Cooper-a struggling 22 year old nursing student with 2 
jobs was upset because she couldn't afford a down payment and didn't know how she was going to 
get to work. Knowing he had to do something, Laguardia asked the salesman to call Cooper and then 
offered her his old Scion for free, no strings attached. The delightful Cooper called the gift "the biggest 
blessing on my life." From The Week

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