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Trustee allegedly steals $18,000 from sale of house in estate

One of the most important considerations that a person going through the estate planning process can make is the naming of a trustee of their estate. There are several options available to New Yorkers who are working on this process. It may be that someone is most comfortable having a family member named as the trustee; others prefer someone outside the family entirely to perform trust administration duties.

Whomever a person chooses, it should be someone who the individual setting up the trust believes will do right by their estate after they are gone. By accepting the role, the trustee gives assurances that the wishes of the individual will be respected. Unfortunately, when it comes time to actually handle the affairs of the trust, not all trustees are up to the task.

A recent example of this comes to us from Connecticut. A former attorney -- who surrendered his law license last year when he was investigated by the state -- was charged with larceny for keeping the profits from the sale of a house in a trust that he administered. According to authorities, the man pocketed about $18,000 from the sale, which was part of the estate of a deceased woman.

The man now faces up to a decade behind bars if he is ultimately convicted of the second-degree larceny charge; he is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

This case shows that it is important to find a trustworthy party or parties to administer your affairs after your death. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you of how best to accomplish this. 

Source: New Haven Register, "Ex-East Haven attorney charged with embezzling from estate," March 11, 2014

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