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Note From the Editor: May 2019

Editor in Chief Susan R. Lipp discusses this month's issue.

At a recent conference I attended, one of the speakers gave this advice: “If anyone asks you to be a trustee, say ‘no.’” His remark reflects the challenges trustees face, including the difficulty of balancing the needs of the settlor, beneficiaries and remainder beneficiaries. One complicating factor is figuring out the settlor’s intent. “Show Me the Money!” p. 45, by Pamela Lucina explores whether the trustee has the duty to preserve the settlor’s intent when the beneficiaries want to make some alterations.   

Trustees face other challenges. As Trisha W. Hall and Gregory J. Weinig note in “Serving as Trustee Without a Safety Net,” p. 42, “serving as a trustee requires managing risk.” They point out that it’s not always a good idea to get a beneficiary’s consent before the trustee performs a discretionary act, and they explain when that’s so.

These articles, as well as the other articles rounding out our Fiduciary Professions Committee Report, give trustees guidance on meeting their responsibilities. Trustees who want to keep current should check out “Fiduciary Law Trends,” p. 34, by Joshua S. Miller and Michael Sneeringer. And, for those with clients who have non-U.S. citizen spouses, read “Optimal Marital Trust Planning for Non-U.S. Citizen Surviving Spouses,” p. 38, by Scott J. Bakal and Gina M. Shkoukani, to learn about the best design of a qualified domestic trust to decrease (and not just defer) the federal estate tax.

We also have some changes to our editorial advisory board. Dina Kapur Sanna has stepped down from the International Committee, and Carl A. Merino of Day Pitney LLP in New York City is now our newest member. In addition, Lawrence A. Frolik has stepped down from the Elder Care Committee. Letha Sgritta McDowell of The Hook Law Center in Virginia Beach, Va. has joined that committee.

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