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Steven Matlin Greenwood

Steven Greenwood’s Answers

95 total


  • Does a trustee have a right to pay themself for handling the trust

    if so is it a percentage or a flat fee or by the hour

    Steven’s Answer

    The short answer to your question is YES. This however can be impacted by language in the trust document. Most well designed trusts will provide for "reasonable" compensation which translates into what is the market value of such services. Professionals will normally charge a flat fee on a percentages of assets basis; this percentage can range from 1/2% to 1% or more, depending upon the size and complexity of the asset base. I have, however, seen trusts where it is specifically stated that a trustee who is also a beneficiary cannot received trustee compensation. The court can also impact this question if it is asked to do so. Hope that helps.

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  • Does it matter what assets I put in the survivor's trust and the bypass trust after my spouse dies?

    I have an A/B trust but I am not sure which assets to put in the bypass trust. I know i have to put enough to equal the annual exclusion amount for this year, but other than that I don't know what to do. Specifically, what should I do with my rent...

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question(s) depend upon a number of issues that require the assistance of a qualified estate planning specialist. Though the division and allocation of property to the right subtrust is certainly important, there are a number of other component parts to trust administration that should be considered, i.e. creation of solo trustee authority, notice to successor beneficiaries, etc. Unless you are prepared to spend the time and energy to self educate yourself on this important process, seek appropriate legal counsel.

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  • Should I use a quitclaim deed or a grant deed to transfer a rental house into a living trust?

    n/a

    Steven’s Answer

    We always use a Grant Deed in our office to transfer real estate of any sort, unless there is good reason to the contrary. The primary purpose of using a Grant Deed is to assure the continuing viability of the underlying title insurance. A quitclaim deed arguably could terminate the title insuror's liabliity under the policy because the insured (you) no longer owns the property and has no obligation to the trust (transferee). Conversely, transfer by Grant Deed imputes certain warranties to the transferor that a title policy would continue to cover. Under most modern policies this may no longer be an issue. Seek legal counsel to discern what makes the most sense in your specific situation.

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  • How can I get information on a trust information that was set up for me . The lawyer was corrupt and I was not given info.

    The family and lawyer that was in control of my assets when I was a child was very dishonest. I had a very large trust fund and properties that were put in trust for me. I was suppose to be given everything after my 30th birthday. Instead they ...

    Steven’s Answer

    From the information provided, if true, it appears that you have been the victim of serious CRIMINAL activity. First thing I would do is gather the evidence you have regarding these allegations and then go to the police or even the District Attorney's office and inform them of this. Hopefully you will be able to support your allegations with sufficient evidence motivating our crimefighters to action. Civil action should also be contemplated. A strong probate litigator should be consulted. Good luck.

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  • At the time of death, how is ownership of funds determined in CA bank accounts held jointly by an elderly parent & her child?

    We've been advised to hold our personal bank accounts in joint ownership, outside of our trusts, to permit easy access by the other in an emergency. Funds in our rental account are owned 50/50. Is this an advisable practice? If estate tax is d...

    Steven’s Answer

    As a general rule, I NEVER advise clients to hold assets in this manner unless there is an overriding reason to do so. The primary problem revolves around the possiblility of the account being attached in its entirety by a creditor of only one of you, thereby subjecting the assets of all to the debt of only one. Additionally, this may cause the payment of a capital gains tax when none would have otherwise been payable. Regarding an estate tax, you should certainly be prepared to prove appropriate ownership of assets that appear to be in the estate but are claimed not to be. As for the SSN, it only matters if the one receiving income is willing to have all income attributed to him or her for income and other tax purposes. There are better ways to arrange your affairs than using joint accounts. Having said that, if the amounts are relatively small and the account(s) are properly titled with an appropriate POD if applicable, and other factors dictate your usage of this arrangement, it could be just fine. It's all about the facts of the case...and there aren't enough of those for me to comment further. Good luck.

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  • I am the owner of a home in CA. I am thinking of setting up a revocable living trust and putting my home in the trust.

    How will this affect the homestead exemption? Could it cause mistakes to happen with my mortgage lender Bank of America? I don't plan a bankruptcy, but just in case, how would this affect that situation? To keep the cost down, I am considering ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Attorney Bergman has done a good job of answering your questions. I want to emphasis however that using a service like Legal Zoom is like purchasing a scalpel and performing heart surgery on yourself. Legal Zoom can provide a form but CANNOT by law provide legal counsel. In this complex arena you should not only have legal counsel, but a specialist in the area of Estate Planning.

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  • Where can I find the laws or rules with regards to AB trusts?

    More specifically, if surviving spouse has run out of money and her only asset is the home she is living in; rather than sell the home, she uses some of the principal from the Residual trust n order to support yourself. After she dies, does the Ma...

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question lies not in any specific law or rule, but in the trust document itself. The decedant's sub-trust (aka Bypass Trust or B Trust) will normally have a specific section of the trust document that addresses the issue you raise. Look carefully at that section and be guided by the language you find there. A trust is essentially a contract and it's terms set the basis for the trust arrangement and subsequent administration. I suggest you seek legal counsel for proper clarification.

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  • REALESTATE-TITLE ? ? ? Asset protection.

    My wife & I inherited her moms home which has no mortgage. I was told that I should put my parents or a trusted family member on the title as lien holder in case I or one of our kids gets in an accident or some other instance and we get sued. In o...

    Steven’s Answer

    Prior counsel's responses should give you the sense that the actions suggested are not a good idea, and I totally agree, But I think it is worse than that. Placing a lien on your mother's home without commensurate consideration, i.e. actually be loaned money that the lien would be used to secure repayment, is arguably a form of constructive fraud against creditors which if willful, could generate real problems if you were sued, i.e. though not a slam dunk, fraud is one tort that can, and oftentimes does, generate punitive damages (significantly beyond the actual damages sued for). Much better to protect your family/assets in more appropriate formats, e.g. insurance, entity ownership, etc. than use deceitful techniques.

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  • Irrevocable trust

    i am planning to do a irrevocable trust but i need to know if this is going to trigger taxes, am talking about reassessment and gift taxes, i understand that my name is going to get remove but this means my girlfriend is going to pay taxes once is...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Before you act in a manner that cannot be reversed, I strongly suggest you seek the advice of a qualified estate planning attorney who can guide you on the particulars of setting up and maintaining an irrevocable trust. You really didn't give enough information for specific comments but such a plan may very well have negative tax consequences, require additional maintainance that you did not contemplate, and otherwise wind up not meeting your overall planning objectives. Please carefully consider seeking good counsel. This is NOT something you want to try on your own.

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