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Do you advise on trust admimistration
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10-Jul-2022 3:36pm


We have an old client base, so we are doing a lot of trust tax returns every year.

(I am a CPA with tax experience only.)

My questions is, do you advise trustee's on how to administer the trust? or do you tell them they need to lawyer up?

Most people I am sure would rather save money and have me explain everything to them. But it involves reading trust documents etc, that I can probably do, but technically might not be qualified for etc....

Thanks for your advice!

14-Jul-2022 6:16pm

It depends. If it's a relatively simple trust with close family as beneficiaries then I'll typically offer advice on administering it. If there is stuff that might be a little complicated/out of my comfort zone/ I get the feeling that beneficiaries might fight or challenge things, then an attorney is better to ensure you don't get yourself mixed up in their battles or steer them wrong.

14-Jul-2022 8:46pm

Thanks for the response!

Is it ever something you charge for?

15-Jul-2022 6:31am

If you do not charge, what you are really saying is “This is not my area of expertise and I’m not confident in my answer.”

If you do charge, you are holding yourself out as competent to advise.

Also consider if you might get a letter from your State Bar about the unauthorized practice of law.

15-Jul-2022 8:12am

I guess it depends on what exactly you do/propose to do.
I will, for example:
Tell the Trustee he needs to make quarterly/annual distributions of income to the beneficiaries per the Trust Agreement
Remind the Trustee that Johnny turns 30 this year so he gets 1/3 of the principal
Confirm that paying Jane's college tuition is permitted by the Trust

Anything gray I tell them to consult with the attorney.

I bill.

15-Jul-2022 10:57am

Great, thanks for the explanation
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