Tag Archive for: trustee

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He Was A Tight-Fisted Hand At The Grindstone…

(Warning: Typos Intact, Not Legal Advice)
(Copyright Notice: All Headlines Are Quoted From Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)

There Never Was Such A Goose.

Can my sister refuse to show me rent, bill receipts, and bank statements?
Both me and sister were appointed co-administrators of our deceased parents estate. My sister is collecting and holding the rent. She refuses to give any receipts or show me bank statements.

It’s Enough For A Man
To Understand His Own Business,
And Not To Interfere With Other People’s

Simple Answer. No. Sister got bad advice somewhere. Why is she withholding information from her co-administrator? Plus, brother is probably co-beneficiary. Brother needs the information to carry out his responsibility as administrator of the estate. Brother is NOT free to let sister get away with this. Brother is duty-bound to challenge sister, in court if need be. Brother literally owes it to mom and dad to find out what is going on and to carry out their intention.

Interesting Note: Sister embezzles, and brother does not find out. He does not want to find out. He does not want to fight sister. He does not want to know. Brother lets it slide. Isn’t brother an accessory to elder financial abuse? Isn’t brother in big trouble?

Bottom Line: When you agree to act as trustee, agent, personal representative, patient advocate, or other fiduciary, you are taking on a big job. You must fully perform that big job. Sorry if you don’t like it, you agreed. If you did not want the job, you should not have taken it. You should have said “No.” or “NO!” Or no way, no how, not in a thousand million years.

Observation: It is no big deal to get a person to act as Trustee or Executor. The First Time. But it is damn near impossible to get that same person to do it a second time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


I Have Seen Your Nobler Aspirations Fall Off One By One, Until The Master-Passion, Gain, Engrosses You.
Have I Not?
Our Contract Is An Old One. It Was Made When We Were Both Poor And Content To Be So, Until, In Good Season, We Could Improve Our Worldly Fortune. You Are Changed. When It Was Made, You Were Another Man.

Should I sign a post-nuptual?
My husband and I bought a house almost 3 years ago. My husband put the down payment, a portion of which his parents gave him.
I am equally responsible for the loan and my name is on the deed. I contribute to the household expenses every paycheck. We renovated the basement, to which we both contributed, my husband much more than I. He is insisting that I sign a post nup saying that he would get back every penny of the money he has put into the house
should we get divorced. He wanted to renovate the entire second level, but wants all that money back if we divorce. I have refused, stating that we are married and therefore equal owners. He has subsequently taken all of his parents assets (his father passed early this year) and placed it in a trust controlled by him and only for his family, including our children. I am excluded because I am not a blood relative. He has made it a point to tell me he owns nothing except our house, because he has put everything in this trust. He believes our house is more his than ours, and wants to split the equity only after he gets back all his money. Is this reasonable??

Should You Sign A Post-Nuptial? No. No you should not.

Is This Reasonable? No, No, it does not seem reasonable to me. His actions are not illegal. In fact, the law excludes inheritances from marital property.. So maintaining his family inheritance for his family is well grounded. But is that how you wish to live?

On the Other Hand: Do you recognize your dearly beloved in Dickens’ description of Scrooge?

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee! Is this how you wish to live your life? The Law does not have all the Answers. Some you have to figure out on your own. This is one of those questions. Wasn’t that easy?


And Therefore, Uncle Scrooge, Though Christmas Has Never Put A Scrap Of Gold Or Silver In My Pocket, I Believe That It Has Done Me Good, And Will Do Me Good; And I Say, God Bless It!

Must a Successor Trustee make a Distribution-in-Kind of gold coins left in a trust?
My wife’s parents Trust left every thing to their two daughters to be divided equally. Her sister does not want half of the coins, my wife does.
My concern is if the coins which are all identical are are taken in kind that the tax liability may be different than a direct inheritance of the coins. The coins are documented as in the Trust. The cost of valuing the coins is a concern as well. This is in the hands of a 3rd party fiduciary as the daughters don’t get along.

Death and Taxes. Inherited property, like these gold coins, get a special tax benefit. When the property is sold by the trust or transferred to the beneficiary, there is no tax. And property is treated, for tax purposes, as though the beneficiary owner paid fair market value for it on the date of Dad’s death.

Dad Sells His Coins: Dad paid $5 for each gold coin. While alive, Dad sells a gold coin for $10. Now Dad has $5 of profit. Therefore, Dad must pay tax on the profit. Also known as capital gains.

Daughters’ Doubloons. When the trust sells the coins, the trust also has no profit, no capital gain. No tax. Because the trust is treated as if it had paid full fair market value for the coins. The coins were then sold for fair market value. There is no profit. There is no tax. And the tax-free money goes to the daughter who did not want the coins.

Your wife, the other daughter, wants to keep the coins. That’s just fine. No problem and no tax problem. While valuing coins is difficult, it must be done. Write down the value. Get a written appraisal. At some point, your wife will decide that rather than the gold, she would rather have green, folding money.

When she sells, she is treated as if she paid fair market value, back when the last parent died. Even if the value has continued to increase, your wife still pays much less tax.

Dad paid $5 for each coin. Dad dies.

At his death, the coins are worth $10. Daughter (your wife) sells a coin. For $20.

Daughter’s profit is not $15. Daughter is treated as if she had paid $10 for each coin (the value on Dad’s date of death).

Yes, it is complicated. But did you think the government would make it easy for you to keep any part of your stuff? Of course not…

And It Was Always Said Of Him, That He Knew How To Keep Christmas Well, If Any Man Alive Possessed The Knowledge. May That Be Truly Said Of Us, And All Of Us!
And So, As Tiny Tim Observed, God Bless Us, Every One!



Bah,” Said Scrooge, “Humbug.” Why Don’t You Deserve A Little Payback For All The Taxes You Paid In?

Why Do You Want To Spend Your Last Nickel On Long-Term Care?

Why Shouldn’t The Government Spend Your Money For You?

Traditional estate planning is concerned with avoiding probate, saving taxes, and dumping your leftover stuff on your beneficiaries. After you die. Nobody cares what happens to you while you are alive. How does that help anyone? Stupid.

Traditional estate planning fails because the overwhelming majority of us will need long-term skilled care. 70% of us. For an average of 3 years. And we will go broke paying for it.

Is it surprising that thousands of recreation properties: cottages, cabins, hunting land, are lost to pay for long-term care? Why is your estate planner hurting you and your family? It is evil intent? Or stupidity?

LifePlanning™ defeats Nursing Home Poverty. Keep your stuff. Get the care you have already paid for. Good for you. Good for your family. Good example for society.

When my mother suffered from the dementia which led to her death, over 10 years ago, their estate plan preserved their lifesavings. Mom’s months in the nursing home did not mean Dad’s impoverishment. Dad spent the last years with security and peace of mind.

Is Now A Bad Time For A Real Solution?

Perhaps you think you already have an answer to this problem. Maybe you do not see this as a problem at all. It is possible that you do not believe in the passage of time or its effects on you.

Peace of mind and financial security are waiting for everyone who practices LifePlanning™. You know that peace only begins with financial security. Are legal documents the most important? Is avoiding probate the best you can do for yourself or your loved ones? Is family about inheritance? Or are these things only significant to support the foundation of your family?

Do you think finding the best care is easy? Do you want to get lost in the overwhelming flood of claims and promises? Or would you like straight answers?

Well, here you are. Now you know. No excuses. Get the information, insight, inspiration. It is your turn. Ignore the message? Invite poverty? Or get the freely offered information. To make wise decisions. For you. For your loved ones.

The LifePlan™ Workshop has been the first step on the path to security and peace for thousands of families. Why not your family?

It is not chance. It is choice. Your choice.

Get Information Now. (800) 317-2812

Answers to your questions
Note: Not Legal Advice!

Can I sell my Mother’s house as successor trustee of her trust. After she gets approved for Medicaid? My mother has dementia and I’ve been successor trustee for years. Her house is in a reverse mortgage and the only item in her trust. I will need to sell it, but how will that affect her Medicaid? Can I move the profits into an acct for her medical needs? A sitter or companion at the facility? After her death I’ll disburse what’s left to her heirs? Or will I have to sign the profits to [Medicaid] at sale?

You Must Sell The House… Or Be Foreclosed!

If Mother is out of the house for twelve (12) consecutive months the Reverse Mortgage Lender can foreclose and force a sale. Special COVID rules now delay foreclosure. And since COVID rules mutate faster than a foreign virus, call us for the latest updates. Or. You can sell the house and repay the Reverse Mortgage Lender. How much do you have to repay? Whichever is less of: 95% of the appraised value or whatever is owed on the reverse mortgage. You keep the leftover money. And since you only have to repay 95% of the appraised value, there will likely be leftovers. Which brings up another issue:

The Problem What To Do With The Leftover Money?

You must report the sale of Mother’s homestead. You have ten (10) days from the closing. Then you must tell Medicaid that the exempt homestead is gone. And that Mother has more money. More money than the $2000 Medicaid lets her keep! So next month, Mother’s Medicaid will end. And Mother will have to spend the homestead money until it is all gone. And then Mother may reapply for Medicaid. New Development: January 2021 spend-down rules prohibit Mother (or you) from spending this money to buy furniture or household goods.

Some Solutions And Strategies

NOTE #1: Your question involves reverse mortgage. However. These strategies can be used by any family considering homestead sale.

NOTE #2: Death is a factor in solving this situation. Money is another factor. Is that harsh or just clear-eyed planning? It seems insensitive to say that “Death is a Planning Opportunity”. Or to be concerned about money when a loved one is in need or dying. But going broke by ignoring reality? That’s worse than harsh or insensitive. Ignoring reality is stupid. And you cannot fix stupid. Let us remember: “Money is Choices.” Folks on Medicaid with money can pay for a private room. Or laundry service. Or a Certified Nursing Assistant. Your money that you earned can improve your quality of life in long term care. That is just the fact. And who knows? There might even be a few bucks left for the kids.

Easy, Easy, Easy! The Pooled Trust

1. Sell the house. Right now. As soon as you empty it of family heirlooms, keepsakes, bric-a-brac and your 3rd grade art projects that Mother has kept all these years.
2. Use a Charitable Pooled Trust.
-a. Deposit the sales proceeds in a pooled trust.
-b. A pooled trust is organized, created, and operated by a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit is the trustee.
-c. The nonprofit takes money from many folks on Medicaid and pools it all together. They then invest the pool of money.
-d. Each person putting money into the pool has a separate account.
-e. The Pooled Trust trustee spends Mother’s account money for Mother’s needs.
-f. No Age Limit!
-g. At Mother’s death, the nonprofit charity keeps the leftover money for its charitable purposes.
3. Upside/Downside
-a. Upside: Super Easy. Barely an inconvenience! Pooled Trust trustees tend to be understanding and generous spending Mother’s money on Mother.
-b. Downside: Nothing for the kids.

Easy, Easy! The Medicaid Payback Trust

Go to your friendly, neighborhood probate court. Get a court order creating a (d)(4)(A) Medicaid Payback Trust. Depending on the county, the local probate judge may have a well-established procedure for this.
1. Sell the house. Get the money.
2. Use the Medicaid Payback Trust.
-a. Deposit the sales proceeds into the Payback Trust account.
-b. You created the Payback Trust. You are the trustee.
-c. You spend the money for Mother’s needs.
-d. AGE LIMIT: Must be under 65 years old!!
-e. At Mother’s death, Medicaid gets the leftover money as payback.
3. Upside/Downside
-a. Upside: Still easy, although you need a lawyer. As trustee, you have complete control so long as you spend the money for Mother.
-b. Downside: Must account to probate court. Nothing for the kids.

Not So Easy – Delay, Delay, Delay! This Is Where It Gets Complicated!

Michigan allows the family to keep the homestead while Mother is on Medicaid. But the reverse mortgage company says sell, sell, sell… and pay us back.

Michigan also says, if the homestead goes through probate, Michigan gets the homestead money to pay back Medicaid. So we must plan to avoid probate. Why? So that Medicaid does not get all the homestead sale money.

And that is why we play to delay. The reverse mortgage company must give 12 months. And with COVID, it is longer. In those 12 months, Mother may need additional care or services. Or Mother may die.

While Mother Lives – Before The Sale

While Mother lives and the homestead is not yet sold how does Mother get additional services? The kids pay for the services. But! Whoever puts up the money gets a promissory note secured by the homestead. The generous kid gets paid back after the reverse mortgage company but before anyone else. We are using the homestead to leverage additional care for Mother.

Mother Still Lives – 12+ Months Later – Must Sell

If Mother survives. Now we must sell the homestead. Close on the sale. Reverse mortgage company gets paid. Generous kid gets paid. Leftovers go to Pooled Trust or Payback Trust.

Mother Dies Before Forced Sale Of Homestead

If Mother has died. Must sell homestead. Avoided probate with trust. Trustee sells homestead. Reverse mortgage company gets paid. Generous kid gets paid. Leftovers divided among all living kids or whomever else Mother chose as beneficiaries.

To Infinity!

Are there a bewildering number of choices, options, permutations, and possibilities? Darn tootin’! Confusing? Mebbe! Worth it? Yes, indeedy! By taking the trouble, you have insured that Mother gets the best care possible. You avoided Nursing Home Poverty. You enabled Mother to get a return on the years that she and Father invested. And there will (may) be leftovers for the kids.

If it was oh so very easy, everyone would be doing it. It is not easy. Which is why most fail. But not you, not your family.

And Beyond!

Applying for benefits does not mean Nursing Home Poverty or silly Spend Down. Learn how to preserve your loved one’s lifesavings, business, cottage, life insurance. Thousands of middle-class families have learned and use these techniques. Why not yours?

Got Questions? Get Answers!

COME TO A WORKSHOP… Live or Zoom Webinar… It is INTERACTIVE!

(800) 317-2812

What Comes Next Is Frequently Worse

Death Comes For Us All

Our time on this planet is limited. We do our best while we are here. To be a good spouse. A loving parent. A loyal sibling. A true American. To be able to look back on a life well-lived. You have worked hard. You played by the rules. You planned. And when you pass, there will be leftovers.

Maybe it is a loved one who has died. After the grief comes the realization that you have a big job to do. You are responsible to take care of what has been left behind.

Now what? What comes next? You have heard the stories of family strife. You “know” that this will take at least a year, probably two. You keep hearing that probate or trust administration costs will swallow up 4-10% of the leftovers. Pretty discouraging.

It does not have to be that way. Let us show you.

Will vs Trust

Wills only work in probate. A will is simply instructions to the Probate Court and the Personal Representative (Executor). Wills do not avoid probate. Did I mention that the will only works in Probate Court?

Millions of families have believed that revocable living trusts would avoid probate for them. Millions of families have been disappointed. Trusts only work on assets that have been retitled into the trust.

Attorneys, bankers, accountants, insurance agents, annuity salespersons, financial advisors, and the guy who mops the floor at the bank all know something that you do not. Everybody else knows that trusts do not work in the real world. That fact has nothing to do with the trust itself.

Trusts only work on stuff in the trust. And your stuff is not in your trust. Inconceivable!

Remember all those papers in that trust binder? All those papers you did not read? All those papers your loved one did not read either? Well, there was a memo about putting assets into the trust. Whoopsie. Say hello to probate! This is not a mistake. New estate planning lawyers are taught not to worry about funding, in reliance on probate. I wonder if the probate attorney fees have anything to do with it… Inconceivable!

Everybody knows you will not put your stuff into the trust. That is why you get a Funding Coach at the Law Offices of David L. Carrier. Someone to help you, nag you, enable you. To truly avoid probate. And nursing home poverty.

Simple will or the typical trust? Does not matter. Say hello to probate.

Delay Destroys De Family

Probate or trust administration drags on. Month after month. Family members wonder what is going on. One year. Two years. And on. Family fights fester. First, grief at mom’s death. Then, impatience. Soon, annoyance. Next, suspicion. Finally, anger.

“But our kids get along so well!” Check back 12-24 months after your death. No final resolution. No visible signs of progress. Tough? You bet. Inevitable? No way!

Git ‘Er Done! Six Months Or Less!

Preserve your family. Preserve your sanity. You do the grieving. We do the paperwork. Six months after you say “Go!”, we say “All done!” And four months of that time was required by the newspaper Notice to Unknown Creditors. Consistent communication calms kids.

Your Probate And Trust Administration Team

Attorney Terri Macklin and Senior Paralegal Lea Dillard head up your Team. Our staff accountants, paralegals, and client service agents back them all the way. Attorney Claire Clary rounds out the Team. As former executive director of Widowed Persons Services, Claire adds years of insights from helping hundreds of newly widowed persons.

Six Months! Really?

Not every time. But it is always our goal. We work hard to beat your expectations. Hundreds of times, hundreds of families, every year.

Unexpected Covid-19 Deaths Are Rising

You did not expect your loved one to pass so soon. You thought you had time. They did too. Things will get worse before they get better. Get help now.

What Now?

Preserve your family. Preserve your sanity. Call the Probate and Trust Administration Team now. It costs nothing. It could save your family. Make the rules work for the folks who play by the rules.


Send Email: TMacklin@davidcarrierlaw.com

Never a charge to talk. What are you waiting for? “What could it hurt?”