What Will You Make of Your Inheritance?

Litigation expert Mark Russakow gives us some advice on trusts and inheritances

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | 9:33 pm

If you stand to inherit at least $20,000,000, there may be some things that might tempt you. Naturally, a new house and the latest SUV are in the list of must-haves. And then there’s the trip to Maldives. Basically, you have plans long before you get the money.

But here’s something litigation expert Mark Russakow wants you to think about.  He says, “The average person will spend their entire inheritance within two years.”

In an interview with Pasadena Now, Russakow laid out the facts.  “First of all, 7 out 10 people die without a trust or a Will. Most people die with nothing. No plan. And then they have to go to probate. Probate is not that big of a deal compared to trust administration.”

But whether you’re the heir or the trustee to a great fortune, Russakow underscored the importance of managing the money well. To him, a trustee is supposed to invest money conservatively and preserve the trust.

Making conservative investments is the key. However, most people are often misguided and get into risky investments instead.

“So even if you mean well, you’re still going to get in trouble for mismanaging the money.”  Russakow went on to explain that until people actually inherit the money, they’re not supposed to use it.

Some still think, “Oh, well, it’s kinda my money and my brothers and sisters would be cool. So I really wanted that new Camaro. So I’m gonna just loan myself 50 grand and go buy the Mazda or Camaro and I’ll just call it an early advance,”

“Well, legally, that’s a bad thing to do. [It] is a breach of fiduciary duty,” cautioned Russakow who also specializes in business Litigation, Trust and Probate Litigation, and employment Litigation.

A distinguished author on trade secret and unfair competition litigation and serving as a legal expert for KNX Radio, Russakow  has extensive experience on trade secret litigation or people stealing secrets, software or source code, or customer list.”

“I do a lot [litigation] where people steal a client list and customer list and vendor list and pricing schemes and use that information to unfairly compete with their former employer.”

Every situation is different and nuanced, so if you’re not sure how to handle your duty as a trustee or have questions about your inheritance, it’s best to consult a professional.

Russakow & Tan is located at 790 E. Green St., Pasadena.  For more information, please call (626) 683-8869 or visit http://www.russakowtan.com

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