pen rainbow

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Saturday Trust—Choosing the Right TTE

The Right Stuff

In an age of e-everything, paper RULES

Let's start with what it takes to be a good trustee from both the perspective of someone who is currently in this role and from the standpoint of someone who is setting up a trust.  

#1:  Fiduciary Responsibility

From the Free Online Dictionary

fiduciary 1) n. from the Latin fiducia, meaning "trust," a person (or a business like a bank or stock brokerage) who has the power and obligation to act for another, often called the beneficiary, under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.

A fiduciary relationship encompasses the idea of faith and confidence and is generally established only when the confidence given by one person is actually accepted by the other person. Mere respect for another individual's judgment or general trust in his or her character is ordinarily insufficient for the creation of a fiduciary relationship. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty and reasonable care of the assets within custody. All of the fiduciary's actions are performed for the advantage of the beneficiary(-ies).

❧   ❧   ❧

Warrior Status
I had a conversation yesterday with the manager of the UPS store where I send faxes and get things notarized.  It so happened that she had been the executor of her father's estate, and when he passed, she had to deal with probate.  Trusts avoid probate altogether, so it was an interesting conversation from both sides.  We compared notes and talked about our most challenging obstacles.

Hers involved fighting the probate attorney over taxes on her father's mobile home which happened to be on wheels, which makes it a vehicle, not real estate.  Her father's attorney was trying to hold the estate accountable for 3 years of back property taxes.  She had to prove through the DMV that the mobile home was a vehicle, then make a case to the probate judge that the estate was not responsible for paying 3 years of back property taxes.

Her father's estate attorney made the case that her father had lived in the mobile home for three years and had never driven it anywhere.  It was parked in a trailer park and had been used as his primary residence.  The attorney was holding to his interpretation of a permanent residence, whereas she, as executor of her father's estate, was protecting his assets and protecting the interests of the beneficiaries.  The probate judge ruled in her favor.

Mine, as of this week, was untangling parking tickets that were being run up on a single license plate stolen from the front of my dad's truck on the day that he died.  Someone in the neighborhood saw the commotion at the house, knew that he lived alone, and decided to take advantage of the situation.

Both of our scenarios involved the DMV.  I was also dealing with the City of Las Vegas Department of Parking and Hearings, as well as Metro Police.  She had to deal with the court system and go up against the attorney who had drawn up her father's will.

The primary responsibility of anyone who is in a position of administering an estate (whether it be a trust or a will) is to manage and protect the interests of both the estate and the beneficiaries.  A fiduciary role is defined by a complete understanding of the intentions of the original author of the will or the trust.  It is with this understanding that a good trustee or executor moves through the administrative steps that are necessary to execute the estate.

Coming up next week...Choosing the Right Trustee: #2  Organization

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Mini-Post: 2 Cute Kitty Vids

Japanese cats are extra cute!

Love these vids by 9Cats!

Start with this one introducing the real 9 cats...

Maru in a lion mane attacks toy safari're welcome! 

Keep watching...It's a cat party at the end.  :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday—Holiday Special: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I HAVE A DREAM ~ August 28, 1963 ~ Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Sunrise in Walnut Creek

Early morning visitor

A beautiful day begins

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery: Beatle Cats

The Fab Four were cat people...

All of these pix came from Google images, but no one sited the names of the photographers.  I'll continue to search for them, but meanwhile, enjoy these cool pix of the Beatles and their feline friends.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday Mini-Post: 80's Dating Vid

Oh, my goodness...LOL!  

Given the choice between having kids and dating in the 80's, I'll take childbirth without anesthesia.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Cupboard—Healthy Veggie Risotto

Start off the New Year with this delicious and hearty shrimp & vegetable risotto.  This dish is even better heated up as leftovers the next night!  

Adapted from Weight Watcher's Magazine January /February 2014

Serving Size:  A generous 1/4 cup
Serves 6
Level of difficulty:  Medium
Preparation time:  45 minutes

Nutritional Info:  1/4 serving; 229 cal, 4 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 645 mg salt, 35 g total carb, 5 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 12 g protein, 81 mg calcium.  Points Plus = 6

Super-yummy comfort food for a New Year

Shrimp & Vegetable Risotto

  • 4 cups of chicken stock (I use double cubes of organic chicken bullion in 4 cups of water zapped in the microwave for 4 minutes; stir to dissolve the bullion cubes)

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, sliced or chopped chunky-style
  • 1 c. Arborio rice
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped OR 2 tsp. jarred chopped garlic in H20
  • 1 pkg. of pre-cut & peeled fresh butternut squash from Safeway & Whole Foods
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 lb. medium frozen shrimp_peeled, deveined & thawed
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach (about 3 handfuls)

  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Make It!

1.  Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

2.  Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a large deep saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion & cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add rice & cook, stirring often until transparent for 3 minutes.  Add wine and cook, stirring constantly until absorbed, about 2 more minutes.

3.  Add stock to rice mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until stock is absorbed before adding more.  Cook until rice is tender, but still chewy in the center for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from heat & cover to keep warm.

4.  Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic & cook, stirring often until fragrant (1 minute).  Add squash & water; bring to simmer; reduce heat & stir occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed & squash is tender, but not squishy, about 8 minutes.  Add shrimp & cook until pink, about 2 more minutes.

5.  Stir spinach into warm rice & reheat over medium, stirring often until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Stir in squash & shrimp mixture.  Season with kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Save for leftovers:  Spray an oven-proof glass dish with olive oil PAM.  Spoon in leftover risotto & store in the fridge for the next night.  Heat on 350°F for 45 minutes until hot.  Enjoy! 

Bon appétit!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday—The 71st Golden Globes Recap

For today's coffee break...

From the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

In case you missed it, here is last night's Golden Globes opening monologue with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

And, the winners are...

Nominated:  Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena, Rush

Nominated:  Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA:  Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Nominated:  Sandra Bullock_Gravity, Judi Dench_Philomena, Emma Thompson_Saving Mr. Banks, Kate Winslet_Labor Day

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA:  Matthew McConaughey_Dallas Buyers Club
Nominated:  Chiwetel Ejiofor_12 Years A Slave, Idris Elba_Mandela, Tom Hanks_Captain Phillips, Robert Redford_All Is Lost

Nominated:  Julie Delpy_Before Midnight, Greta Gerwig_Frances Ha, Julia Louis-Dreyfus_Enough Said, Meryl Streep_August: Osage County

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY:  Leonardo DiCaprio_The Wolf of Wall Street
Nominated:  Christian Bale_American Hustle, Bruce Dern_Nebraska, Oscar Isaac_Inside Llewyn Davis, Joaquin Phoenix_Her

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE:  Jennifer Lawrence_American Hustle
Nominated:  Sally Hawkins_Blue Jasmine, Lupita Nyong'o_12 Years A Slave, Julia Roberts_August: Osage County, June Squibb_Nebraska

Nominated:  Barkhad Abdi_Captain Phillips, Daniel Brühl_Rush, Bradley Cooper_American Hustle, Michael Fassbender_12 Years A Slave

DIRECTOR:  Alfonso Cuaròn_Gravity
Nominated:  Paul Greengrass_Captain Phillips, Steve McQueen_12 Years A Slave, Alexander Payne_Nebraska, David O. Russell_American Hustle

Nominated:  The Croods, Despicable Me 2

Nominated:  Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Masters of Sex

BEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIES, DRAMA:  Bryan Cranston_Breaking Bad
Nominated:  Live Schreiber_Ray Donavan, Michael Sheen_Masters of Sex_Kevin Spacey_House of Cards, James Spader_The Blacklist

BEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES, DRAMA:  Robin Wright_House of Cards
Nominated:  Julianna Margulies_The Good Wife, Tatiana Maslany_Orphan Black, Taylor Schilling_Orange Is The New Black, Kerry Washington_Scandal

Nominated:  The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation

BEST ACTRESS TV SERIES, MUSICAL/ COMEDY:    Amy Poehler_Parks and Recreation
Nominated:  Zooey Deschanel_New Girl, Lena Dunham_Girls, Edie Falco_Nurse Jackie, Julia Louis-Dreyfus_Veep

BEST ACTOR TV SERIES, MUSICAL/ COMEDY:    Andy Samberg_Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Nominated:  Jason Bateman_Arrested Development, Don Cheadle_House of Lies, Michael J. Fox_The Michael J. Fox Show, Jim Parsons_The Big Bang Theory 

Click HERE for the complete list

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday—Making Happiness Real

Putting the "happy" into Happy New Year!

Gratitude is more than a feeling

I'm taking the easy way out and linking to a really good blog post about happiness by Wordpress blogger, Leslie G. Nelson.  I found it because she shared my "gratitude" wallpaper, the most downloaded Photoshop project I've ever done.  Turns out, I completed it last year at the beginning of 2013.  It was a New Year's project!

Click HERE to read Leslie's post.  Check out this YouTube on the connection between gratitude and happiness.

The Science of Happiness by SoulPancake

And, since it's a lazy day for me as far as blogging goes, I'm going to add another link to a YouTube vid that will make you smile and laugh.  I love this kid...

20 Things We Should Say More Often by Kid President 

For me, what I say is not as important as how I say it.  Admittedly, it's something I need to work on.  Here are the 20 things I need to say in a kinder, gentler way...enjoy!  


2.  What's wrong with you (her, him, them, the world)?

3.  @#!%  

4.  Oh, come ON!

5.  MOVE

6.  I'm calling the police.

7.  What is it that you don't understand about...(fill in the blank)?!

8.  Transfer me to someone who can.

9.  Well, that SUCKS.

10.  This subject is not up for debate.

11.  Make up your mind.

12.   (He, she, they, you) is an idiot.

13.  Zip it on the whining.

14.  Well, that's nothing but a load of crap.  

15.  Get with the program.

16.  Stomp on my foot one more time, and you're a dead man/woman.

17.  I really don't give a rat's ass about whatever you're saying.

18.  I'm not interested in excuses.  

19.  Really, explain it to me 12 more times because I didn't hear you the first three times you said it.

20.  Go A-WAY

And, finally...

My 2014 New Year's resolution:
If you die in your sleep tonight, you will be remembered for the person you are up to that point.  So, make each day a good one.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery

New MiniMoo cards for my new job as trustee

solar sepia tone_Lightroom

Original design by moi

Click HERE if you want to order your own MiniMoo cards 

($19.99 for 100 different images)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday's Cupboard—Avocado Hummus with Coriander & Lemon

Try this fantastic fresh avo hummus from food blogger, Natalie Ward

Look for succulent Meyer lemons if you can still find them in early Spring at the beginning of avo season.

Photo by Cook, Eat, Live Vegetarian by Natalie Ward
I love Natalie's suggestion to use this as a late-night supper with toasted tortillas cut into quarters.  It would also be wonderful with toasted pitas.

Serve with fresh, sliced oranges; a side of spring greens with herbs & heirloom baby tomatoes; and a glass of sangria over ice.  Yummmm

Click HERE to go to Natalie's food blog & get the recipe.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday—The Reading Corner: 52 Book Challenge for 2014

Saw this on my favorite online book club, The Library Thing

A look inside of our bookcase

Library Thing 2014 Book Challenge
Looking for a fun reading challenge for 2014?

The Library Thing goal is to read 75 books in a year.  I could do that!  That's about 6 or 7 books a month, or 2 a week.  Alright, so maybe I can't do that.  Seriously, who has time to read that many books??!  It won't work with my new normal as trustee of my dad's estate.  A more realistic goal would be...say, 2 or 3 books a month.  Or, a book a week might be doable if they weren't too long.

Dontstealmypen's 2014 Book Challenge
Alright, so I'm resetting this goal at a book a week, 52 books in a year.  One has to leave time for dancing, after all.

Each week, I will post the book that I've read.  To be fair to the books that start out slow, but end with a bang, I make it a personal rule to finish every book.  I may skim over pages if I start to lose interest...but I finish.

I am addicted to detective novels.  I am currently reading, The Last Coyote, by Michael Connelly, author of The Lincoln Lawyer.

Click HERE for a first read and  link to purchase the 
$5.99 Kindle version on Amazon.   

Happy reading in 2014!  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Saturday Trust—The New Normal

Everything I've learned about administering a family trust

The family trust goes nowhere without death certificates

The New Normal
For those of you who don't already know, my dad died on November 26, 2013, two days before Thanksgiving.  From that point on, my life changed with one powerful stroke.  When the phone rang at around 5:30 that evening, I was pulling a pot out of the cupboard beneath the stove and thinking about making mashed potatoes.

The coroner said that she was sorry to tell me that my dad had passed away earlier that day.  I was stunned.  Unless you've ever been stunned, you don't know what it's like.  The air seems to leave the room, and all light fades.  There is no emotion whatsoever, just a feeling of floating in crystal clear water.  No feeling, no breath, just a sense of being cut loose from all that is known and normal.

In the absence of all feeling, there is a purposeful calm.  I asked the right questions, burrowing into the facts so that panic could not emerge from a lock box of anxiety.  Knowledge was the superglue that kept my thoughts together.  I hung up the phone and muttered out loud to myself, "I have to tell somebody."

I called my sister, no answer.  I tried her cell and left a text message to call me back ASAP.  I left a verbal message on her home phone.  I was highly aware of the sound of my own voice, flatlined, urgent, and pleading.  Then, I called my mom who was audibly as shocked as I was.  At first there were no words, just a gasp, followed by the robotic exchange of information as she asked the same questions that I did when I spoke with the coroner.  The coroner...

I hung up, and my sister called.  The conversation swung like a heavy pendulum between us.  What happened, when, where, how, who knew what?  The details were jagged shards of glass wrapped in cotton.  I could hear the purposeful calm in her voice, too.  My husband walked in from work as he did every weeknight around 6 o'clock.  He could see that something was terribly wrong.  I shot him a look that it wasn't about our kids.  The call ended as succinctly as it had begun, and there was nothing left for us to say.  Neither one of us had any answers, but we knew that we had to move forward.

That was the beginning of the new normal.

Navigating the New Normal
I've been navigating the new normal for a little over 8 weeks, now.  Time slows down and speeds up at weird intervals, and every day has been a new experience.  I am in Next-of-Kin legal bootcamp.  I've incorporated my role as trustee into my everyday routine, but it never leaves me, even when I'm asleep.  My mind breaks down the SMIT list at night (Six Most Important Things), and I strategize in the shower the next morning.

A year from now, the trust will be closed, and I will have been successful at throwing a lasso around  every detail of my father's 78-year existence.  Before he died, I had no clue of what this experience would be like.  So, I'm going to do what every red-blooded, post-college trained executive secretary would do in my situation...take notes!

The Saturday Trust will be a written account of my day-to-day administration of our family trust, and hopefully, there won't be too many mistakes.  It truly is a learn-as-you-go full-time job.  Each week, I'll provide an update on the responsibilities, the triumphs, and the difficulties.  And, I will talk about the surprising foundation of love that motivates me every day.

Next Saturday's topic...Choosing the Right TTE

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday—The Photoshop Gallery: New Year Bouquet

Happy 2014!

This bloomed on my kitchen table today!  
Pretty & fresh

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thursday Mini-Post: Dogs & Cats Being Shot with Fingers

Love the human and doggie sound fx!

2 great videos by Funnyplox

First, the good dogs...

Now, the wonder cats...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Holiday Special: Happy New Year 2014!

Auld Lang Syne 2013

This year's Christmas bell

Enjoy this beautiful version of Auld Lang Syne by Dougie MacLean with the original Scottish lyrics and English translation.  To remove the gray pop-up text, hover your cursor over the top right corner of the pop-up window to bring up the small "x" and click.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.