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The Trustee's Legal Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Administering a Living Trust [Paperback]

Liza Hanks Attorney , Carol Zolla Attorney
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Paperback $37.99  
Paperback, May 9, 2010 --  
There is a newer edition of this item:
The Trustee's Legal Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Administering a Living Trust The Trustee's Legal Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Administering a Living Trust 4.4 out of 5 stars (16)
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Book Description

May 9, 2010 141331189X 978-1413311891 1
You're the trustee-what now?

It's an honor to be entrusted with wrapping up the affairs of a deceased loved one, but it's also a big task, one you may find stressful and confusing. Here is a guide that you can rely on for help with the legal, personal and practical aspects of administering a living trust.

The Trustee's Legal Companion shows you exactly how to proceed, from handling paperwork to keeping beneficiaries informed, to knowing when to call in the professionals and how to work with them. Find out how to distribute money to the rightful beneficiaries, in keeping with the terms of the trust and state law, as well as a full breakdown of:
  • what the job of trustee entails
  • determining whether or not to take the job
  • finding and working with legal and tax experts
  • what to do with assets that should be in the trust but aren't
  • subtrust funding
  • managing an ongoing trust
  • paying debts and taxes
  • keeping good records to avoid challenges to your actions
  • terminating the trust
The Trustee's Legal Companion is written with both the legal and the human element of the job in mind. It will help you gain peace of mind during a difficult time, while saving you time, money and headaches.

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Editorial Reviews


“Nolo is a pioneer in both consumer and business self-help books and software.” Los Angeles Times “Nolo is always there in a jam as the nation’s premier publisher of do-it-yourself legal books.” Newsweek --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The guidance every trustee needs to handle paperwork, get help from experts, and keep beneficiaries informed. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Trustee's Legal Companion: A Step-By-Step Guide to Administering a Living Trust
  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; 1 edition (May 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141331189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413311891
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential July 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Once again, Nolo has produced an amazingly helpful guide to what can be a rather murky process. I had never truly understood the significance of a trust, nor the subtleties. And as co-administrator of mine, I knew i was in the right book when one of the first things I read was, "If you are a co-administrator, be warned it will make things even more difficult. Great. The authors jump right into it by describing the prospective trustee just what they're in for, and assuring you that if you have any doubts as to your abilities in this regard, to take a pass with no bad feelings.

Straightforward, you could say, like all the other Nolo books I have read. It is quite current, updated but a few months ago,and also gives information specific to particular states, which is also simply interesting to read and learn what the differences are. It also allows me to ask questions now, instead of waiting until it is too late and I can only turn to a lawyer. Not that there's anything wrong in that, but the more informed I am the better job I can do of avoiding pitfalls due to a lack of basic facts.

While I am trying to read it cover to cover, it is organized (and the authors point this out) to be also useful in skipping around should a specific issue arise. I plan on doing both- forewarned is forearmed and all- but I know when a gray area in my family trust appears, this fine book will be most illuminating.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Nolo We Trust June 24, 2010
By korova
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nolo is well known for its clearly written do-it-yourself guides to handling legal issues. I've used many Nolo products in the past and have always found them to be informative and practical. "The Trustee's Legal Companion" is no exception.

Anybody who is a trustee of a living trust, or might be named as a trustee, will find this book to be an invaluable resource. The text is very comprehensive, with guidance for all of the important activities in administering a living trust: deciding if one should be a trustee, working with beneficiaries, managing assets, dealing with taxes, and terminating the trust.

As with just about all Nolo publications, this book is organized in a very straightforward way. Each chapter covers a broad topic, such as The First Few Months [of running a trust after assuming control], Assets That Should Be in the Trust-But Aren't, Thinking Like a Trustee, or Getting Help When You Need It. After a brief introduction, the text explains the key principles underlying each topic and helps you figure out your legal rights and responsibilities.

The book does have a couple of minor weaknesses. First, task checklists are scattered throughout the text. Most other Nolo books gather their checklists, often as tear-out pages, in a single appendix. Having everything in one place would be more convenient. In addition, this book is written in more of a textbook style than other Nolo titles. While the book is still easy to read and understand, the outline/bullet point format used in other books is better suited for presenting this kind of material to a general audience. These are minor quibbles though, and don't detract much from the overall quality of the book.

Bottom line: "The Trustee's Legal Companion" is a reliable, no frills-no hype guide. All living trust trustees (and prospective trustees) owe it to themselves to pick up this book. Four stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't REALLY Know How Good It Is Until... September 30, 2012
By Gizmo
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have held off reviewing this because it's one of those products where it's hard to evaluate how good it is until it's really called upon - which, in this case, would be upon the death of a loved one with a living trust in place. In the meantime I can say this: The book is written by two estate planning attorneys and is written in language that is relatively easy to understand. Not only does the book cover the tasks required of the trustee in administering a living trust, but the book goes further and includes help for handling things that are OUTSIDE of the trust (but might involve the trustee anyway) - e.g. life insurance, retirement plans, pension plans, etc. The book has been helpful in guiding some steps we can take now with regards to the trust to facilitate it being more easily administered later. Laws may change and this may slightly change some applications of this guide over time, but I do think the guide is an excellent reference book to keep on-hand and consult periodically.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars invaluable trust resource October 27, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even with the administration of my mother's trust which was a simple trust, this book was invaluable. Probate has steps that are outlined by the court and there are lots of books on the subject. There are very few guide books for administering trusts that outline it so clearly--this book does that. Because I live in a different state, I hired a lawyer to assist me. I saved lots of money because I could consolidate all my questions and only use him to assist with certain things while I did most of the rest with this book's guidance. It is well organized and clearly written with lots of examples and references for resources to use. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trustee's Bible! July 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Many Americans, especially in California, now have family trusts. Which means sooner or later, you may be, knowingly or unknowingly, a trustee for an estate.

It is a huge job which will require 3-6 months of work, minimum. Maybe even up to 2 years of commitment.

Buy this book - it is chock full of examples, definitions, sample forms, explanations and "watch out for this" situations. It is written for the layperson who has no legal background. Everything is explained and nothing is assumed. This is really important given a seemingly simple decision can have painful consequences later! I even liked the "never do this" advice. It was dense, but easy to read and understand. This is not always easy for effectively a legal textbook/primer.

Working with grieving and possibly irrational beneficiaries can be challenging. And it is useful to know what to do in what order - both for your own protection and the beneficiaries. The book covers what to do in the first days, who to notify and how, insurance, hidden assets, taxes, accounting and even final termination of the trust. Even if you are not a trustee, as a beneficiary it might be useful to read so that you know what the trustee *should* be doing. Well worth $26.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
This was a very helpful book to have after my son was born. It walked me through what I needed to do in order to set important things up for my "estate". Read more
Published 15 months ago by ShawnaLanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of reading
This book covers a lot of information that any person involved in handling someone's estate should have. There are many tips that you will learn in an easy-to-read format. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nena
4.0 out of 5 stars A needed companion
As I walk through the halls of court rooms and clerk's offices and banks and financial institutions, I feel more confident that my efforts to control, manage, settle the trust... Read more
Published 16 months ago by James P. Menghi
5.0 out of 5 stars Good starter guide
Losing a loved one is not easy and if you are the trustee of their estate, this book provides some direction. Read more
Published 16 months ago by yogagirl
5.0 out of 5 stars book
This book is very informative, easy to understand and helpful for handeling legal issues regarding trustee questions in a death situation
Published 19 months ago by carol collins
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent handbook
I found it to be very helpful so far, but I am not far along in the process of administering the trust. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for Trustee's.
This book saved us thousands of dollars in attorney's fee by answering just about all our questions. Read more
Published on July 10, 2012 by B. Carlsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Probate or a Living Trust? You decide!
If you don't want the family estate to go through probate, you need to learn the ins and outs of a Living Trust. Read more
Published on October 20, 2011 by George Beahm
3.0 out of 5 stars General Overview, But Not State-Law Specific
This book is fine for a general introduction to trustee relationships and obligations. My problem is that trust law is so state-law specific, that any actual use of the book would... Read more
Published on February 17, 2011 by Bay Gibbons
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, I didn't realize there was so much work involved with being...
As usual, this Nolo guide was very comprehensive and provided me with what I should expect as being a trustee. Read more
Published on January 30, 2011 by Hoppaguy
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