October 2013      

Team Tisser Foundation (TTF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Doron M. Tisser and his wife Laurie. TTF raises money for various charitable purposes and does not focus on any one charity or charitable purpose. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to "Help Make A Difference" by "Improving Life for Others." TTF has made donations to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Challenged Athletes Foundation, as well as charities helping people affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunamis. Since 2000, TTF has donated over $250,000 to over 40 different charities. Friends and clients generally donate money to TTF to support Doron's participation in triathlons and marathons. If you would like more information about TTF, please contact Doron at doron@tisserlaw.com, or visit www.teamtisser.org

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Doron M. Tisser

Doron M. Tisser has specialized in estate and gift planning, tax planning, trust and probate administration, charitable giving, buy-sell agreements, and related areas for over 30 years. Mr. Tisser is one of less than 100 attorneys in California who has been designated as both a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law, and as a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Mr. Tisser has been chosen by his peers as a Top 100 Super Lawyer in Southern California since 2011. In addition, he has been selected by his peers as Super Lawyer for Southern California since 2009. Mr. Tisser has also been awarded the highest possible rating by his peers, an “A.V.” rating, for the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. This rating is based on ethical considerations and legal skills.

Mr. Tisser has been quoted and referenced in many magazines and newspapers across the country including Forbes Magazine, US News and World Report, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Doron competes in triathlons, including Ironman races, and raises money for charities through Team Tisser Foundation, a non-profit corporation he co-founded with his wife Laurie.


What’s Happening

Doron M. Tisser and Team Tisser Foundation (TTF) raced at the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 13, 2013. This is just the first of several races Doron will be racing in as he gets his racing career back on track after several years of injury.

Doron trains for and runs these races to raise money for charities through Team Tisser Foundation (TTF), a non-profit corporation co-founded by Doron and his wife Laurie. TTF has given over $250,000 in grants to various charities over the last 10 years. If you would like to donate money to TTF, please visit TTF’s web-site at www.teamtisser.org.


Naming a trustee of a trust is one of the most important decisions a client must make when planning his or her estate. Serving as trustee requires sound judgment, impartiality toward the beneficiaries, financial ability, integrity and honesty, and, if possible, experience as a trustee. Serving as trustee is not an honor; it is a demanding and time-consuming job.

This newsletter highlights some of the trustee’s duties, provides examples of where problems commonly arise, and raises important questions about what clients should consider when selecting a trustee.

Administering According to the Trust Terms

The most important duty of the trustee is to administer the trust according to the terms of the trust instrument. As anyone who has served as a trustee (or even simply attempted to review their estate own estate planning instruments) will tell you, this is easier said than done. A thorough review of the trust instrument by an attorney should be the first step in any trust administration so that the trustee can avoid making mistakes in administering the document.


The Trustee must keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed about the terms of the trust and the administration of the trust. This includes providing copies of the trust instrument to beneficiaries as well as preparing accountings of all trust activities which need to be given to the beneficiaries at least annually.

The form of a trust accounting is specifically mandated under the Probate Code. If done correctly, accountings can limit the time period a beneficiary can challenge actions by the trustee to 180 days. If done incorrectly, the trustee may be subject to objection by a beneficiary for up to three years.

If a trustee does not give the beneficiaries accountings, a challenge to his or her actions does not have an expiration date and the trustee can find himself or herself liable for his or her actions for many years.

Investments and Management of Trust Property

In addition to the above, the trustee has a duty to invest trust property to make it productive, which includes the ability to hire investment advisors. The trustee may not, however, delegate any action which the trustee can be reasonably expected to do himself. The trustee must also control trust property and separate it from non-trust property, take steps to enforce claims that are part of trust property, and defend actions against the trust.

Distributions to Beneficiaries

Perhaps most importantly, the trustee may be given the power to make discretionary distributions to or for the benefit of a beneficiary. Often the trust will indicate that these distributions should be made for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance and support.

With these broad guidelines in mind, does the designated trustee understand the philosophy of the person who established the trust? Will he or she be too generous or too strict with distributions to the beneficiaries? Can the trustee postpone distributions to the beneficiaries if he or she believes it would be in their best interest? These and other questions must be addressed any time a trustee is given discretion over distributions to the beneficiaries.

Sole Trustee vs. Co-Trustees

It is important to remember that two or more trustees can be named to serve at the same time. There are benefits and drawbacks to naming either a sole trustee or co-trustees to manage a trust.

Unless the trust specifies otherwise, all acts of the trustees must be taken unanimously. Naming a single trustee ensures that actions will not be delayed due to disagreement among the co-trustees. It also allows for increased administrative efficiency since only one party must execute documents to take action and, generally, there will be only one attorney representing the trustee.

On the other hand, many clients understand the risks of naming co-trustees but have important reasons for doing so, including balancing the strengths of different individuals and providing additional oversight of trustee actions.

Specifically, a client may name an individual and a professional trustee to balance personal knowledge of the beneficiaries with knowledge of a professional, such as a bank. If, for example, the client wants to name a bank as a co-trustee, a thorough review of the bank’s trustee policies and fee structures should be done.

Tisser Law Group, LLP | 5425 Farralone Ave, Suite 100 | Woodland Hills | CA | 91367

doron@tisserlaw.com – Doron M. Tisser, Esq.
brian@tisserlaw.com – Brian H. Standing, Esq.
crystal@tisserlaw.com – Crystal Yu, Law Clerk

judy@tisserlaw.com – Judy Schwarz, Senior Paralegal
erica@tisserlaw.com – Erica Opperman, Senior Paralegal | Director of Operations


laura@tisserlaw.com – Laura Stein, Director of Marketing | Executive Assistant
amber@tisserlaw.com – Amber McBride, Paralegal
allison@tisserlaw.com – Allison Shorr, Client Service Coordinator
heather@tisserlaw.com – Heather Lanet, Admin. Assistant
zion@tisserlaw.com – Zion Dungo, Admin. Assistant
jesus@tisserlaw.com – Jesus Esteves, Admin. Assistant  
This Newsletter is intended to provide legal information only; legal information is not legal advice and you should consult with qualified legal counsel prior to implementing any estate planning. The transmission or receipt of information to or from this Newsletter is not intended to create, and does not create or constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No portion of this Newsletter may be reproduced or used in any manner other than for the private information of the reader without the express written consent of Tisser Law Group, LLP. The testimonials throughout this Newsletter were provided by actual clients. To maintain their privacy their names may have been abbreviated. Please note that testimonials do not warrant, guarantee or predict your particular results. Copyright Tisser Law Group, LLP 2013. All Rights Reserved.