Sunday, February 7, 2016

In which I try to convince Primo that the kids would be better off if he were not the trustee

I am trying to convince Primo that it is OK for him to resign from the trust and let the trust lawyer handle it. Primo has a highly-developed sense of responsibility (my understanding is that this is common with children of alcoholics?) and never thinks anyone else can do the job as well as he can. (That just comes from his being a control freak engineer.)(We argue about how to put silverware away. Nothing is safe.)

Primo: He won't do it right.

Me: If you don't resign, you have another 11 years of dealing with Ted about this. And you already know that there is nothing you can do short of draining that trust and making the check out to him that will make him happy.

Primo: But what about the other kids? Jack has been really reasonable. He wants to pay off their student loans and set up IRAs for them.

Me: I think that's a great idea. Can you resign from just Ted'sSon's trust?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Plus with Ted'sSon, you have the additional complication that he is disabled and gets social security disability  and the rules are different. No matter what you do, you are going to have to consult with a lawyer. So the trust is going to pay legal fees no matter what.

Primo: I guess.

Me: Isn't your main responsibility to make sure that the funds are disbursed appropriately and that the expenses charged to the trust are reasonable?

Primo: Yes.

Me: If The Lawyer had been in charge, would he have given Ted the money to reimburse him for attending his own father's funeral?

Primo: Nope.

Me: Do you think The Lawyer might have a more dispassionate attitude toward things? That if Ted gets nasty, The Lawyer can just hang up or say, "Ted, you realize you are paying me $500 an hour to listen to you scream, don't you?" But with you, there is an emotional connection that makes it harder.

Primo: Why does he have to be such a jerk?

Me: I don't know.

Primo: He has always been like this.

Me: I'm sorry, sweetie.

Primo: He would not have reimbursed Ted those travel expenses.

Me: So he would have made sure that the trust funds were not used for inappropriate expenses?

Primo: For sure

Me: So actually, it is the responsible thing for you to do to resign. That would be acting in the kids' best interests.

Primo: Maybe.


  1. Ok so this is a really weird comment - Ted is a jerk and unreasonable, no doubt about that. But apparently reimbursing people to travel to attend a funeral out of the estate is a thing.

    When my beloved grandmother died when I was 40. (40! A well established adult with a bank account) My entirely loving and reasonable father, her son, kept insisting I needed to turn in gas and toll receipts for my 2.5 hour drive up to the the funeral. You know the drive back to my hometown I made whenever there were holidays or family gathering to attend. I'd been doing this since grad school, when I was 22 with huge student loans. No one paid me to come home for Christmas then.

    My dad was an only child and executor of my grandmother's very modest estate. He got it all after expenses. So basically he'd be passing what $50 of that on to me. What? Why? I had never heard of this before in my life. Why in the world should I get reimbursed for this? My dad kept insisting that was how it worked.

    Geeze - more trouble then it was worth. I never did it. It wasn't worth the paperwork for me.

    Anyway, just saying this because as weird as it sounds, it apparently is actually a thing and the lawyer might have allowed it.

  2. Where is Jack in all this? Wonder if all communication from Ted concerning the trust and the money must go through the attorney but Primo has the final say? Wondering if the same would have to apply to Jack, which seems to penalize Jack's kids because their uncle is a conniving and greedy.

  3. And if the lawyer takes over, how will that affect Jack and his kids? Is the lawyer going to suddenly deny things that should be allowed? Or be slower in responding when that's their full-time job?

    My guess is that it won't affect them one bit, except they might get the paperwork done sooner than Primo would, because although I'm sure he's conscientious, again, the lawyer does this for a living.

  4. A lawyer taking over the trust would protect Ted's Son's interests...and it would be a godsend to you and Primo. I'm sure you don't want Ted haranguing Primo and upsetting your life for the next 11 years!

  5. Yes, children of alcoholics frequently have an overly developed sense of responsibility. They are too often left to fend for themselves and to care of the alcoholics. Also there is a lot of denial about how bad things are which can skew their sense of normal.

    1. Yeah, and the not doing it right comes from that too. (Adult child of and adult child of an alcoholic.

  6. Catherine from CanadaTuesday, February 09, 2016

    I know this may sound harsh, but with all respect to Primo, especially his care and dedication; why since he's been educated and trained in the specialized field of engineering, is he not trusting the education and training of another specialist?
    I mean, it's valid to say "He won't do it right" if the lawyer was setting out to build a bridge, but to not "do" estate law right, when he's an estate lawyer?
    I get the hyper-responsibility thing, but I'd think that hyper-responsibility would make sure you'd chosen the best specialist, then let him do his specialty.