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New Guide Provides Dos and Don’ts When Picking a Trustee in California Estate Planning



Free Expert Guide: Picking Your Trustee in California


Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) August 23, 2010

Certified estate planning and probate lawyer Janet Brewer has released a new guide, “Picking Your Trustee in California: a Guide for High Net Worth Individuals.”

Brewer has focused exclusively on California probate law, estate planning, and gift-planning law since 1991.

“I’ve just about seen it all,” says Brewer. “Trustees who can’t manage money; trustees who can’t meet deadlines; and trustees whose commitment peters out too soon. I’ve also seen trustees who embezzle funds (and, wouldn’t you know it, rationalize the stealing).”

Whatever the cause, the effects of choosing a poor trustee can be dire. Family members become resentful and estranged. Savings built up over a lifetime are poured into avoidable expenses. And the estate plan is not realized.

“The good news is that with the right trustee, your estate plan has a much better chance of coming off without a hitch,” explains Brewer. In this new 13 page guide, she outlines the “job description” of a trustee in California, and common mistakes to avoid. And at the end is a worksheet to help those doing estate planning for high net worth individuals pick someone who will do a good job.

The free guide can be found on Brewer’s website at calprobate.com/picking-trustee-in-CA.

“While we like to think of a trust as taking care of all your estate planning concerns, it’s actually the trustee who has to carry out the orders,” Brewer said. Choosing a trustee is not just bestowing an honor, it’s assigning a real job. There will be forms to fill out, letters to write and bills to pay. Trustees have a special duty to always act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries, and not intentionally do anything or make any decisions that could harm them.

Some people automatically pick the oldest child in a family, or a family friend to do the job. That person might have the right temperament and skills, but it’s wise to think through the choice, Brewer said. A bad trustee might delay distributing the assets, fail to account for assets, or otherwise mismanage the estate. A really bad one might even embezzle.

In her guide, Brewer goes through several options when making choices, including the idea of hiring a professional trustee for a fee.

“Whatever choice you make, take time to think it through. That’s where an estate planning attorney can be a big help,” Brewer said.

About the Law Offices of Janet L. Brewer

Janet Brewer is a certified specialist in estate planning by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, and has an advanced degree in tax law. She has practiced California estate, gift-planning, and probate law exclusively since 1991, and has served as an instructor in the certified financial planner program at UC Santa Cruz.

For more information, contact the Palo Alto, CA, law office at (650) 325-8276 or visit calprobate.com

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