Estate planning and trusts: something to focus upon

Estate planners hardly comprise an audience that needs to be told and periodically reminded that trusts command great power in the realm of estate administration.

That is, they are impressively flexible. They provide for confidentiality, when that is a perceived imperative. They are eminently useful vehicles for preserving assets and allocating them in the manner that a trust creator wants. They can serve beneficiaries admirably and over the long term. They help avoid probate, as well as taxes. And they easily supplement a will.

Sometimes, though, as noted by a recent media article focused on the power and utility of trusts in estate planning, stories emerge regarding trusts “that climax in an unhappy ending.” That can of course lead some people to believe that there are inherent difficulties and complexities surrounding this planning vehicle that might make it preferable to eschew it in the planning process.

And that would, of course, be unfortunate, given the powerful role that well-considered and tailored trusts play in the administration of many estates.

The writer of the above-cited article is admittedly on a crusade of sorts, driven by his stated desire to “illuminate the beneficiary-trustee relationship at its best.”

That desire led some years back to a collection of stories from people involved in trusts who benefited greatly from them. A book resulted from that, with TrustWorthy chronicling multiple tales of trust outcomes that worked out well.

In other words, as they are supposed to and usually do.

TrustWorthy has since been supplemented by an additional work, with yet further stories in the pipeline.

Those tales are being passed along, the writer notes, “not to promote the wearing of rose-colored glasses,” but, rather, to simply put trusts into a proper perspective.

When carefully thought about and implemented correctly, trusts can be formidably powerful tools in an estate plan.

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