Vile and Venal

I am recovering from our trip, though slowly.  My internal clock was stuck on SC time, so Friday morning and yesterday morning I woke at 430.  Way too early, though I got to see the sun rise.

Going to sleep I found myself thinking about Brother Dan and realized that I will be emotionally tense and anxious until he has his procedure this very Wednesday.  As I said, he is optimistic, and he should be.  But I think I have what Henry James had, an imagination of disaster.  I intend to be at the hospital when he has the procedure, but I don’t know the time of it yet.

Also, among this huge pile of mostly junk mail that I found awaiting me upon my return, was a thick batch of paperwork from the lawyers in charge of the Tingle Trust.   I was happy to see it because it meant the lawyers are finally getting off their collective asses and doing something, but reading over the documents the list of things I should do and things I  shouldn’t do as Trustee of the Trust was perplexing and a bit horrifying.  I mean I don’t want to make some mistake.  But as far as I can understand what I read, I think I—and the rest of the brothers involved in managing aspects of Joan’s finances—have done a good job and are on the right path.

Some of the paperwork has to do with the government.  They want their piece of the pie.  I will have to file income taxes for whatever income the trust receives, while the money is still in the trust, from the time of Joan’s death until the estate is distributed whenever that might be.  Legally, the trust is considered some sort of separate entity and was given its own tax identification number.

A lot of the other stuff has to do with trying to clarify or negotiate or minimize possible fighting, suits and counter-suits, among the heirs over what I as the trustee did with the trust while it was in my trust.  In other words, the law anticipates that my brothers and I will start suing each other and wanting to go to court over the terms of the trust or how it was administered. 

The law is much like the rules established in a bureaucracy.  Decent people have to concern themselves with the rules because the bureaucracy makes everybody pay for the deeds of the incompetent, the vicious, the vile, and the venal.  The law is aimed at regulating, in other words, the lowest possible common denominator of the human race—the operative assumption being we are all already or potentially mean creeps motivated wholly by our own self interest.

All this is tension and anxiety making too and I won’t rest entirely easy till its over and done with.

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