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Right now I have money in Merrill Lynch and Fidelity TRUST accounts that I will be investing. My first goal is to invest in items that pay dividends and then use the dividend money to add to my SS income AND not make a big tax paper mess for myself.

I am hoping to be doing my own tax return in 2013 after 20 plus years of having it done by a CPA.

I am familiar with individual stocks and mutual funds and how we receive year end statements listing all the different gains / losses for the year and the 1099 forms we usually receive by Jan 31 for the past tax year.

At first I thought about using TAX FREE funds such as NUV (Nuveen Municipal Value Fund) and KTF (DWS Municipal Income Trust). Then I found out that those 2 funds were Closed End Funds, not Mutual Funds. While researching CEFs, I discovered that CEFs can contain Partnerships and REITs. That made me think that using these 2 CEFs would probably complicate my tax paperwork instead of making it easier.
AM I CORRECT? is my first question. Or will these 2 CEFs send some kind of simple? paperwork and tell me what, if anything, I need to do on the 1040 tax forms? I'm guessing that the income produced by tax free CEFa in the account will not appear on the Merrill Lynch 1099 form. Or does Merrill Lynch send me the required documents for tax free income I earned and tell me what to do? IS IT a tax paperwork nightmare to hold NUV and/or KTF in a Trust investment account?

Also I was looking at long term dividend paying stocks: Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Coke Cola, McDonalds and such to start as core stocks. Then I ran across the idea about Exchange Traded Funds that hold good long term dividend paying stocks. The 2 ETFs I am considering to purchase when the price become a discount instead of a premium, are VYM (Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF) or VIG (Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF) By this time I had found the Mötley Fool website, joined SA and a week later joined Supernova.

I researched about ETFs a lot on the Mötley Fool website and it looks to me that I could save my trust account some money by purchasing VIG or VYM instead of each dividend paying stock individually to start my core.
(I am pretty much a buy and hold investor unless fundamentals of what I own changes.)

Is anyone here able to tell me if buying VYM and/or VIG will create a future tax paperwork nightmare? OR if I do buy either of these 2 ETFs in my trust account at Merrill Lynch, will the ETF earnings just show up on the Merrill Lynch 1099 next January along with the financial info about any stocks I also own in that account?

Will I need to do anything more than to report the ETF dividend gains along with the stock gains on the tax forms? I forget the form number, the one that reports short term gains / losses and the long term gains / losses and then the end result of that form gets put on some line or lines of the Form 1040. OR does ETFs cause extra paperwork for me at tax time?

I believe that as long as I take out the gains or earnings from my trust account and report it as income on my personal tax forms, I do not have to do a TRUST income tax return as well as the personal tax return. NOT having to do a TRUST tax return in the future is a goal and 2013 will be the first full tax year for this trust. Hence the tax paperwork questions with ETFs and/or CEFs in an investment account.

IF using ETFs does NOT create a tax paperwork nightmare, would there be any advantage to buying both VYM and VIG?

Knowing how bad the tax paperwork would become before I purchase any of these funds would be extremely helpful! I am NOT considering any other CEFs or ETFs other the ones I mentioned above. If the tax paperwork for holding these type of funds in a TRUST account can only be done correctly by a CPA, then I will seriously consider NOT buying either of these funds.

Answers to these questions will be greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
Carolyn
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I have money in Merrill Lynch and Fidelity TRUST accounts that I will be investing.

What's the nature of this/these trust(s)? I ask because of the special emphasis you put on the word plus your desire to do your own taxes. If we're talking about a grantor trust that just retitles your assets it's disregarded for tax purposes, all 1099's are issued in your SSN, and all income is reported on your 1040.

If we're talking about a separate legal entity we're talking about a 1041 trust income tax return, and IMO that means we're talking about a professional preparer regardless of what the trust owns.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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Guess I should have read ahead, Phil. I answered Caroline's first post since nobody else had responded in a couple of days. But didn't (couldn't) address the TRUST type issue. I just assumed it was a grantor trust since she is also the Trustee (showing my ignorance here).

Consequently, I just addressed her dividend question that seemed straightforward & made suggestions to consolidate her funds in a discount type broker (Vanguard/Fidelity). You might want to take a look at my reply and make sure I didn't mis-state anything w/regard to the 1099 (your favorite :)) on the ETF's she mentioned and the VNQ REIT I mentioned.

As an aside, your level of knowledge and participation is astounding IMO. Hope others appreciate it as much as I do. Thanks. Oh yeah, the "dry & witty" humor is pretty good too!

Ciao.
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Consequently, I just addressed her dividend question that seemed straightforward & made suggestions to consolidate her funds in a discount type broker (Vanguard/Fidelity). You might want to take a look at my reply and make sure I didn't mis-state anything w/regard to the 1099 (your favorite :)) on the ETF's she mentioned and the VNQ REIT I mentioned.

I didn't see anything wrong, but the reason I didn't respond to that part of her questions is that my knowledge of, for the lack of a better word, stranger investments isn't a high bar to clear. They don't keep me around here for my investment acumen, but for eye candy.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool

P.S. Thanks for the kind words.

P
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RE:What's the nature of this/these trust(s)? I ask because of the special emphasis you put on the word plus your desire to do your own taxes. If we're talking about a grantor trust that just retitles your assets it's disregarded for tax purposes, all 1099's are issued in your SSN, and all income is reported on your 1040.

If we're talking about a separate legal entity we're talking about a 1041 trust income tax return, and IMO that means we're talking about a professional preparer regardless of what the trust owns.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool


First of all, Thank you Phil and op456op for your replies. Good thing y'all mentioned replying to my earlier post because it never showed up in my feed under My Boards. Thinking no one replied. I tried again as a new post. I did manage to backtrack to that thread and retrieve the replies posted. I do appreciate the answers!

To answer your question, I am not totally clear about it. I do have an EIN for this trust and I'm pretty sure that the earnings of both of these accounts will be reported under the EIN instead of my SS number. The 1099s for either account has come yet but I'm hoping they will arrive soon. Both of these accounts are labelled (Using my full name) Trust. I have not heard any of the lawyers call this entity as a 1041 trust. As I understand it, this was the legal way for my parents to pass on their assets to my brother and I after they both died. My brother also has a trust account with a different EIN from mine at both locations. Does this information help identify the type of trust I have?

Also, the lawyers have said that as long as I take out the trust's earnings and report it as income on my personal income taxes that I do not have to file a trust tax return. I am to use the trust earnings income for my health, education, recreation, and welfare. I can also use some of it to pay the taxes. Does that info help identify the type of trust? The trust is NOT part of an IRA.

My parents held stocks in the Merrill Lynch account and mutual funds at Fidelity to keep their booking simple. Plus they definitely believed in not putting all their eggs in one basket. (Or banking / investment service.) Their account at each place was split into two and that is how we each have a trust account at both places.

New questions:

I know that banks have FDIC insurance up to a certain limit and that investment accounts are NOT protected by FDIC and I do understand that investment accounts do at times lose money, especially when the whole stock market goes down.

Is there any entity that regulates how much money is allowed to be in an investment account? To any certain limit for any reason?

Is there any particular reason(s) to NOT have mutual funds, ETFs, maybe an open fund REIT and stocks all in the same account?

I am considering to open a trust account at Vanguard if it will save on costs in the long run for anything I buy from Vanguard.

I do have a PMA account at Wells Fargo. If I chose to have a Wells Trade account like I have seen mentioned on the discussion boards here, would there be any advantage to having such account in my own name and SS number instead of in the trust name and EIN?

Or should I keep all my investment accounts only in the trust with the EIN because that is what I have now?

Also, any thoughts or guidelines on how much percent of my money should I put into the 2 Vanguard ETFs, how much into the one Vanguard REIT that is open ended, how much into individual stocks and how much into mutual funds?

As for mutual funds, if I use balanced funds, will that be a good way to have exposure to bonds if that ends up being my only exposure to bonds in the whole portfolio of investments?

I see now that I should stay clear of the closed end funds. My main interest was the TAX FREE income. I know to not put them into my Roth IRA. Is there any type of "TAX FREE earnings" investments that I should consider putting into my investment portfolio that would NOT complicate the tax paperwork?

I do appreciate your informative replies! I know that I have more investing homework to do. Your answers are helping to steer me while I do this investing homework.

Thank you,
Carolyn
(not Caroline, I am Carolyn)
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I am not totally clear about it. I do have an EIN for this trust and I'm pretty sure that the earnings of both of these accounts will be reported under the EIN instead of my SS number. The 1099s for either account has come yet but I'm hoping they will arrive soon. Both of these accounts are labelled (Using my full name) Trust. I have not heard any of the lawyers call this entity as a 1041 trust. As I understand it, this was the legal way for my parents to pass on their assets to my brother and I after they both died. My brother also has a trust account with a different EIN from mine at both locations. Does this information help identify the type of trust I have?

Also, the lawyers have said that as long as I take out the trust's earnings and report it as income on my personal income taxes that I do not have to file a trust tax return. I am to use the trust earnings income for my health, education, recreation, and welfare. I can also use some of it to pay the taxes. Does that info help identify the type of trust?


Sorry, but it just gets more confusing. Someone lurking please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never heard of a trust with a 1041 filing requirement which could take care of things simply by distributing the income. While that's a way for the trust to avoid having to pay tax, it doesn't eliminate the need to file the 1041.

Yet it sounds like this is a testamentary trust established by your parents. Have you read the trust document? Who's the trustee? What powers does the trustee have? What restrictions are there on the trustee's actions? What happens to the trust's assets upon your death? Answers to these questions might clear some things up.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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I do have a PMA account at Wells Fargo. If I chose to have a Wells Trade account like I have seen mentioned on the discussion boards here, would there be any advantage to having such account in my own name and SS number instead of in the trust name and EIN?

Or should I keep all my investment accounts only in the trust with the EIN because that is what I have now?


We have to settle the basic issue of what kind of trust it is before this question can be answered. Do you have your own attorney separate from the one(s) who drew up the trust documents? Might not be a bad idea.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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The more I read, the more confused I get.

The only thing I'm pretty sure of is that you're beyond the scope of anonymous internet board discussions. You're going to need some professional assistance with these issues - at least to get started.

You need an attorney to read and interpret the trust documents.
You need a tax professional (I'd go with an EA or a CPA) to advise on the tax issues. I would not use an attorney for tax advice.

My suspicion is that the attorney who said you didn't need to file a trust return was wrong. (Or quite possibly you heard him/her wrong.) This sounds like the kind of trust that will need to file returns. The trust itself won't pay tax if you distribute the earnings to yourself, but it still has to file a return.

On the investment side, I'm a simpleton. I'd try to get things into the simplest investments that accomplish your goals. I see nothing wrong with sticking with just a couple of low cost mutual funds. The most important thing I can suggest in this area is: Do not invest in anything you do not understand.

--Peter
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Hi Carolyn, not Caroline (sorry about that!),

Well the experts, Phil & Peter, have given you excellent guidance and advice and I concur from the non-expert side :)

In addition to an estate type attorney to get things explained and then an Enrolled Agent or CPA for taxes, with regard to your investment mix questions, I would recommend you see a Fee ONLY Investment advisor from Garrett Planning: http://garrettplanningnetwork.com/ or one selected from NAPFA: http://www.napfa.org/ The only fee they get is what they charge you and not any kickback commissions for pushing specific mutual funds with loads. Also be wary of any annuity products or "leveraged planning" regardless of any "guaranteed income" promise.

To echo Peter's comment on the scope of anonymous internet board discussions with regarding what to invest in, we really don't know enough about your complete financial picture to advise you, nor should you share that detailed information on a public BB.

Yes, it will cost you more money, but as I told my son (if there's anything left in the Trust for him!), it will be money well spent and in all likelihood save you more from any pitfalls you might stray into otherwise.

I like and used Garrett Planning a few years ago before I retired for a couple of reasons:

1. Some used to give a 10% initial discount to Fool Members (don't know if they still do).
2. They will work on an hourly basis which once an initial plan is put in place, you can have a few hours of "tune-up" a year if needed without monthly management fees.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but I think you know you're in the right place with SA/RB/SN for recommendations. Be sure you mention any strategies you are interested in to any Fee ONLY (not "free" Fee Based) planner you see.

To repeat Peter again because it can't be emphasized enough: The most important thing I can suggest in this area is: Do not invest in anything you do not understand. If you keep it simple enough in a year or two you should be able to achieve your goal of doing it yourself.
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Hi again. I am the trustee of my trust and my brother is the trustee of his trust. My trust is a Personal Asset Trust, (or PAT).

After reading all of y'all's replies I went digging into the filing cabinets. My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust. After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

Does knowing this information help clarify the type of trust I have?

I understand that I need to look into getting paid advice and I will check into the Garrett organization that one of you mentioned.

The lawyer who set up our Personal Asset Trusts is an estate lawyer. The CPA who has done my taxes for 20 years must be close to 90 years old or past that milestone. My brother did find someone younger to do our complicated 2012 taxes but the charge per tax return is more than twice the amount the 90 year old charged per tax return.

Forgive me for being persistent, I am wondering if knowing that I have a Personal Asset Trust and the information I noted in my first two paragraphs, does that information help you to answer any of my previous questions?

I'm not ready to jump in and place any market orders. If you do understand about Personal Asset Trust accounts, would you please read through this thread again and answer my questions?

It sure would help guide my research efforts. If I don't understand what I am finding while doing the research, I definitely will not buy it.

Many thanks,
Carolyn
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My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust. After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

We start with the caveat that I'm not a lawyer.

I've never heard the term PAT, but it sounds like a plain old living trust, which is just a way of avoiding probate when you head for your dirt nap. During your life you control it and can do what you want with the assets in it. If that's what it is, it's disregarded for tax purposes, all payers should be using your SSN, the trust never should have had an EIN, and everything just gets reported on your return.

Here's why it's important you get this straightened out. If the IRS sees more than $600 of income reported under a trust's EIN it's going to be looking for a 1041 from the trust. How has income from the trust been handled in prior years, or is 2012 the first year of its existence?

If an attorney confirms that what I suspect is the case, let us know. It's pretty easy to fix the tax reporting side of things, and I think you could probably accomplish that without having to file a 1041.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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After reading all of y'all's replies I went digging into the filing cabinets. My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust.

OK. Up to this point that sounds like very conventional estate planning.

After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

I also am not familiar with the term "Personal Asset Trust." I don't know if that's something peculiar to your state's laws or whether it's a brand name of the brokerage it's invested with.

The lawyer who set up our Personal Asset Trusts is an estate lawyer. The CPA who has done my taxes for 20 years must be close to 90 years old or past that milestone.

Well, those are the two guys you should talk to about the requirement (or not) to file a 1041. And the fact that a guy is old is not a bad thing. (I'm only 59-1/2; not in that crowd quite yet, but just acquired some new options for retirement planning.) Old lawyers and accountants tend to know a lot about estates and trusts. That's because they know a lot of dead people. And why retire just when all your clients are dying and business is getting good? Seriously, I know a lot of lawyers who think that way.

My brother did find someone younger to do our complicated 2012 taxes but the charge per tax return is more than twice the amount the 90 year old charged per tax return.

That might have more to do with the situation with the inheritance and trust setup situation, than whether either one is too high or too low.

Bill
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I've never heard the term PAT, but it sounds like a plain old living trust

It isn't a living trust.

Instead of receiving their inheritance directly, each of your beneficiaries may instead receive their inheritance in a special trust, which springs out of your Living Trust. This continuing “Personal Asset TrustSM” (or “PAT”) can be controlled by each beneficiary in such a manner as to virtually give him or her all of the same rights as ownership, without the liability exposures ownership brings.
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This continuing “Personal Asset TrustSM” (or “PAT”) can be controlled by each beneficiary in such a manner as to virtually give him or her all of the same rights as ownership, without the liability exposures ownership brings. [emphasis added]

Hmmm. I wonder what kind of exposure the seller (I noticed the Service Mark, so I assume this is some sort of proprietary product) is talking about. In my salad days it would have taken me less than 5 minutes to pop this one under alter ego theory to collect a tax liability. I would hope that less powerful creditors would also be able to reach the assets.

Back to OP, it beats the heck out of me what you're dealing with for tax purposes. Follow Peter's advice.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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In my salad days it would have taken me less than 5 minutes to pop this one under alter ego theory to collect a tax liability. I would hope that less powerful creditors would also be able to reach the assets.

I believe, you could.

The claim and reality may not be the same.

Unfortunately, by “owning” their inheritance, your beneficiaries are then needlessly exposed to the claims of spouses in divorce, creditors, lawsuits, the loss of government needs-based benefits and potential estate taxes when their inheritance is handed down to the next generation of beneficiaries.

http://thepersonalassettrust.com/indexC.html


I have no idea if a PAT is good or bad, but I liked the title to one link:

"My Son In Law is a Big Fat Dummy." Remedy: The Personal Asset Trust
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I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

There are a couple of other questions to ask a lawyer.

Is keeping the assets in the trust of value to you?
Are there limitations on what assets can be removed from the trust?

You maybe able to remove assets from the trust, and let it go away. Just because someone convinced your parents, this version of a trust was a good idea doesn't mean that it is good for you.
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(Phil:)In my salad days it would have taken me less than 5 minutes to pop this one under alter ego theory to collect a tax liability. I would hope that less powerful creditors would also be able to reach the assets.
=====================================
I would hope not, since that would seem to thwart the intent of the OP's parents, who established the trust for her benefit.

I'm sure you'd have tried, back in your salad days, as IRS agents' contempt for the actual law is well-known.

But seriously, this does seem a little shaky from an asset-protection viewpoint, as the trustee and the beneficiary are one and the same. A 3rd-party trustee, even a family member, would be better. An independent financial institution would be better yet.

The literature suggests that maybe Delaware and Alaska trusts provide the best asset protection. The ultimate, at least in the English-speaking world, is probably the Cook Islands (British territory east of New Zealand.) A law firm in our area would set you up with a trust company down there. None of our clients have done it yet though.

Bill
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After reading all of y'all's replies I went digging into the filing cabinets. My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust. After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

Add me in to the camp of never having heard of a Personal Asset Trust. Frankly, it sounds like something gimmicky some financial planner group thought up.

From your description, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that you need to file a tax return for the trust as long as the assets are in that trust. You didn't put the money into the trust - your parents did. So you are not the grantor of the trust. I think that means it's not a grantor trust that can be ignored for tax purposes.

The CPA who has done my taxes for 20 years must be close to 90 years old or past that milestone. My brother did find someone younger to do our complicated 2012 taxes but the charge per tax return is more than twice the amount the 90 year old charged per tax return.

My guess is that your old (both figuratively and literally!) accountant never kept his fees up to market rates. The accountant your brother found is probably closer to market rates. While fees for tax prep vary significantly by region, as a data point for you I can say that I'd charge a minimum of $400 for a trust return and $300 for the beneficiary's return. I'm probably on the low side of the general market here in Southern California.

--Peter
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The PAT is a form of a Living Trust: http://thepersonalassettrust.com/indexC.html

Donna
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My trust is a Personal Asset Trust, (or PAT).

Just in case old Dobbin has a breath left in him, here goes.

At least two Fools have posted links to descriptions of PATs, and I googled another. I find it interesting that all, each from a different law firm, use exactly the same verbiage to showcase the whiz-bang-wow factor of this instrument which hardly any lawyers know about. Call me a cynic, but

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

I am no doubt prejudiced from spending too much time debunking tax scams which "nobody knows about but us," but borrowing from Peter's advice about types of investments, I'd be leery of anything my own attorney couldn't explain to me.

Why should you care? Well, you can't figure out what your tax responsibilities are as trustee until you figure out the nature of the beast you're trustee of. The only thing I feel comfortable saying at the moment is that IRS is going to be looking for a 1041 from the trust if more than $600 of income is reported under its EIN.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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Gee, looks like my tax questions gave more questions instead of answers. Thank you to everyone who has been replying.

Re: the service mark and the PAT weblinks. I have not seen any such service mark on anything from my parents' lawyers office on any of their documents, nor mine. Also, interesting to note that when I went to their lawyer's website, there is NO mention about Personal Asset Trusts on there at all. Their website does mention about estate planning and estate administration.

Quoting from Bill's post:
(My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust.) 

"OK. Up to this point that sounds like very conventional estate planning."

After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. <snip>  

"I also am not familiar with the term "Personal Asset Trust." I don't know if that's something peculiar to your state's laws or whether it's a brand name of the brokerage it's invested with."

The term is not from any brokerage firm, and since y'all never heard the Personal Asset Trust term, maybe it is terminology from the state of Texas since I live in it.
Bill does have it correct about my parents' Living Trust, very conventional estate planning.
I thought that the PAT was a conventional "next phase" of the plan after both parents had died.


The lawyer who set up our Personal Asset Trusts is an estate lawyer. The CPA who has done my taxes for 20 years must be close to 90 years old or past that milestone. 

"Well, those are the two guys you should talk to about the requirement (or not) to file a 1041."

Okay, I googled tax form 1041 to see what it was....looks like it applies to the decedent estate and last tax return. I'm sure our CPA did do the 1041 forms and all those filings for both of my parents. I will definitely ask him about filing rules for my trust needing to file a return. And I have also added the questions Bill mentioned to ask the lawyer in his post as well.

Peter mentioned about my CPA's fees and I suspect that he is correct that my 90 year old CPA did not raise his fees with the market. Especially true for folks who have stayed with his business for so long.

Phil posted:
My trust is a Personal Asset Trust, (or PAT).

"Just in case old Dobbin has a breath left in him, here goes.
At least two Fools have posted links to descriptions of PATs, and I googled another. I find it interesting that all, each from a different law firm, use exactly the same verbiage to showcase the whiz-bang-wow factor of this instrument which hardly any lawyers know about. Call me a cynic, but
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
I am no doubt prejudiced from spending too much time debunking tax scams which "nobody knows about but us," but borrowing from Peter's advice about types of investments, I'd be leery of anything my own attorney couldn't explain to me.

Why should you care? Well, you can't figure out what your tax responsibilities are as trustee until you figure out the nature of the beast you're trustee of. The only thing I feel comfortable saying at the moment is that IRS is going to be looking for a 1041 from the trust if more than $600 of income is reported under its EIN."
Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool

After reading that website, I really now wish that my trust had a different name. That website does scream tax scam but that was not at all my parents intent. I will definitely need to know the nature of this beast that I am trustee of. Thank you for pointing out possible consequences for NOT knowing!!! I am safe for tax year 2012 as for this trust and its earnings not being over $600.

Op456op posted:
In addition to an estate type attorney to get things explained and then an Enrolled Agent or CPA for taxes, with regard to your investment mix questions, I would recommend you see a Fee ONLY Investment advisor from Garrett Planning: http://garrettplanningnetwork.com/or one selected from NAPFA: http://www.napfa.org/ The only fee they get is what they charge you and not any kickback commissions for pushing specific mutual funds with loads. Also be wary of any annuity products or "leveraged planning" regardless of any "guaranteed income" promise.

Thank you for posting both of these website links to help me find a fee only financial planners. I am surprised because I live in the 4th largest US city and the closest financial planner office with Garrett Planning is 20 miles away. The NAPFA website gives me 4 office locations that are much closer to my location for fee based financial planners.

I have posted a few non-tax questions on these Fool boards, posting a question on THIS Tax Strategies board was truly an eye opening experience.

Carolyn
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I am surprised because I live in the 4th largest US city and the closest financial planner office with Garrett Planning is 20 miles away.

20 miles? In Texas, that's like "spittin' distance" isn't it? :) The only thing closer is 20 miles in Alaska!

Also, whether you use that Garrett Planner or not I would recommend you D/L &/or fill out those 1st three questionnaires under the Client Forms sections (hint: all GP's seem to have these forms on their sites). It will give you a good insight to where you stand on many levels for financial & investing decision making.

All the best in sorting out your situation and getting starting taking control of your investing through The Fool Services you've joined. Keep us posted so we can all learn a little bit.

ciao
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