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First American Trust Makes History – The El Royale Story
First American Trust Makes History – The El Royale Story
Built in 1929, El Royale was home to noteworthy celebrities such as Clark Gable, William Faulkner and
Loretta Young. More recent residents have included Jack Black, Ellen Page and Katie Holmes.
While serving as trustee for the Beverly Hills family who owned the building, First American Trust sold
the property for nearly $30 million which, according to Marcus & Millichap, is the highest price-per-unit
sale in Los Angeles history.
The success of this sale illustrates the strength and expertise we bring to the administration of complex
accounts that hold real property within business entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs) and
limited partnerships (LPs).
We are proud of the expertise that the professionals in our Trust Real Estate and Fiduciary Business Services units bring to our clients. Contact us to find out more about how we can provide you or your clients with quality administration, flawless execution and superior results.
We are proud of the expertise that the professionals in our Trust Real Estate and Fiduciary Business
Services units bring to our clients. Contact us to find out more about how we can provide you or your
clients with quality administration, flawless execution and superior results.
First American Trust is proud to announce that our Trust Real Estate and Fiduciary Business Services
departments recently made history with the sale of El Royale, an iconic apartment tower in the exclusive
Hancock Park neighborhood in Los Angeles.
The Fact Pattern
When the matriarch of a Beverly Hills family passed away First American Trust became sole trustee of her
estate. This estate held the historically significant El Royale, along with an 85-unit complex in Monterey
Park and other assets. The apartment complexes were held in separate LPs, with a corporation acting
as general partner of both.
Officers of First American Trust’s Fiduciary Business Services department were elected as directors of the
corporation which retained a property management company to manage the onsite operation with oversight
from our Fiduciary Business Services Department. During the two years of our administration of the trust
estate the properties realized a near-100% occupancy rate and upgrades were made to enhance their values.
Once the IRS approved the Federal Estate Tax Return the directors decided to sell the apartment buildings.
The Monterey Park property sold within two months for close to $12 million. Our strategy for the sale of
El Royale was to bring it to market without setting a listing price, knowing that this unique property had
the potential to draw emotionally influenced buyers. Our instincts were correct and we received multiple
bids. El Royale ultimately sold for $29.5 million.
Are You on the Right Rung of Your Retirement Ladder?
Tips to Avoid Being Wrung Out at Retirement
By, Kimberly Dwan Bernatz, CFP®,AEP®
To paraphrase Stephen Covey’s famous quote, “It would be a waste to spend your life climbing a ladder only to find that when you get to the top, it’s leaning against the wrong wall”. This happens all too often with investors who, as they make investment choices along the ladder to retirement, don’t ask the right questions or succumb to negative behaviors that run contrary to their best interests.
One of those negative behaviors is that investors tend to focus primarily on making the right stock pick in the hope of getting a big payoff in rate of return. The media, with its endless broadcasts and articles that peddle the hot stock or asset “class-de-jour” and with its heavy focus on returns, fuel this behavior. We’ve been conditioned to think that rate of return is the only thing that matters. But to what end and with what risk?
What investors need to know is that it’s more important to look beyond the right stock pick and focus on the right process that will ultimately get them to their long term goal. We don’t really have control over market rates of return, but we do have control over our own financial goals and expectations, and we have control over implementing the right plan that should lead us there. A professional financial advisor is a valuable resource to help investors navigate through that process.
A recent survey (Sept. 2011) by Franklin Templeton indicates that having professional financial advice clearly makes a difference in how individuals approach their retirement goals. The survey found that 66% of Americans who work with a financial advisor know how much of their retirement savings they will withdraw each year in retirement, compared with only 36% of those who have never worked with a financial advisor. Running out of money is a concern for 35% of respondents who have never worked with an advisor, but for those who do work with an advisor, only 24% said they were worried about running out of money. Professional financial advice is a key resource for developing a roadmap for retirement.
Know the Right Questions to Ask
While fees and performance are important pieces of information to know, there are other key questions that should be asked and factored into the mix. Consider if the financial advisor is qualified to provide you with answers to the following questions:
The Process in a Nutshell
A good planner will navigate you through the six steps of the financial planning process:
Investor behavior tends to focus on stock picking and chasing previous investment performance while ignoring factors with outcomes that can be controlled. By seeking the advice of a qualified financial planner, you can gain a more clear understanding of how to effectively attain your goals. Armed with this knowledge and an effective plan, comes peace of mind and a greater likelihood of achieving your goals. So, just how far up the ladder are you and is it leaning on the right wall?
Kimberly Bernatz, CFP® is Senior Vice President and Director of Wealth Management Advisory with First American Trust. She leads a team of wealth management advisors who work with successful individuals, families and foundations to help them plan for and achieve their current and future financial needs. An active volunteer in our local community, Kimberly serves as Chairman of the Hoag Hospital Foundation Planned Giving and Endowment Council, Membership Chair for the UCI Paul Merage School of Business Center for Investment and Wealth Management, Immediate Past-Chairman of the Board of Pacific Chorale and as an Advisory Council member for the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa.
Alert: Third Week in October (October 17-23, 2011) is National Estate Planning Awareness Week
Estate planning is one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management. It is estimated that over 120,000,000 Americans do not have up to date estate plans to protect themselves and their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death. This costs the affluent and middle classes wasted dollars and hours of emotional hardship each year that could be minimized with proper advanced planning and action.
The NAEPC Education Foundation, and other professional organizations representing over 200,000 attorneys, accountants, trust officers, life insurance and financial planning professionals, have made it an ongoing commitment to promote National Estate Planning Awareness Week, the third week in October each calendar year.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 49 other members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored and helped pass H. Res. 1499 on September 27, 2008, creating a Congressional Proclamation for National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Visit http://www.estateplanninganswers.org/ for more information.
Kimberly Dwan Bernatz Named Senior Vice President of First American Trust
June 2, 2011, SANTA ANA, Calif.
First American Trust announced today that Kimberly Dwan Bernatz has been named senior vice president.
In this role, Bernatz will serve as the director of wealth management sales and marketing for the Trust company and oversee the team of wealth management advisors and all business development and marketing initiatives.
Bernatz, who has been with First American for 10 years, has served in the capacity of vice president, wealth management advisor for the duration of her career at First American. In that role, she was responsible for working with high net-worth individuals, families and foundations to assist them with building and implementing plans for their investment management, trust and overall financial planning needs. Prior to joining First American, Bernatz served in a similar capacity as vice president of business development at Northern Trust Company in Newport Beach, Calif.
“Kimberly has been a valued member of the First American Trust wealth management team for over a decade and she has been a significant contributor to the overall growth of our client base and revenue. We look forward to her leadership and guidance as she steps into her new role managing our team of wealth management advisors and implementing initiatives that will help us grow the business,” said Kelly Dudley, president of First American Trust.
Bernatz is Membership Chair of University of California-Irvine’s Center for Investment and Wealth Management and past Chairman of the Board of Pacific Chorale. In addition, she is a member of the Hoag Hospital Foundation’s Endowment and Planned Gifts Committee, a member of the Orange Coast Estate Planning Council and an advisory council member for the Assistance League of Newport Mesa.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.