Creating a family trust is an excellent way to keep your assets protected from creditors and to ensure that they are distributed to your loved ones as you intend them to be after you pass away. You'll need to find a reliable trust management company to prepare and execute your trust – here are a few important things to think about when comparing trust management companies and ultimately choosing one to work with:
Meeting and Consultation Fees
It's important to determine whether you'll be expected to pay separate meeting and consultation fees to a trust management company before hiring them so you can estimate how much of an overall investment would be required to get your family trust created and finalized. Some companies may include a specific number of meetings and consultations in their service fee, others may offer unlimited free consultation opportunities, while yet others might charge an extra fee for each and every meeting you want to schedule with them.
Ask each potential trust management company you consult with to provide you with a fee schedule for all the different types of meeting options they offer and bring copies home with you. This should make it easy to compare them to one another and get a good idea of how much each company is going to cost you and how accessible they'll each be in the long term.
Everyone that will be included in your family trust will have to sign paperwork and get involved with the preparation process in one way or another. Managing communication between all family members and making sure that everything stays organized a big job, so look for a trust management company to work with that is willing to take care of family communication for you.
Your management company should mail any paperwork that needs to be filled out to your family members, along with detailed instructions on how to properly complete it and send it back, so you don't have to act as a teacher or micromanager.
Your family members should be able to call your management company to have basic questions and concerns addressed too. And if any serious changes are being made to the trust or intricate details need to be provided to family members, your trust manager should be happy to sit down and facilitate an in-person meeting for anyone who feels they need the extra support.
Future Change Requests
You need to know beforehand what the process would be if you wanted to make changes to your family trust as time goes on to ensure that there won't be any unforeseen obstacles or disappointing surprises to deal with. If you want to remove a family member from the trust or add an asset to it, what kind of notice will you have to give and how long will it take each prospective trust management company to get the change officially made?
What steps will each family member who is included in the trust have to take when a change needs to be made if any? What are the fees that are associated with changes you may want to make in the future? Learning the answers to questions like these will help ensure that you know what to expect from the company you choose to work with.
Finally, you should find out how all your trust paperwork will be filed and managed afterward before deciding which specific trust management company to hire. Look for a company to work with that will file all of your paperwork with the courts for you and keep it on file for the life of your trust.
Make sure that the company you work with has a contingency plan in place for the management of your trust if they were to go out of business in the future. The trust should be transferred to their parent company, to a service provider who has agreed to take on the accounts, or to a legal entity who will assume management responsibility.
By considering the aspects outlined here, you should be able to easily identify and choose a trust management company to work with that can meet your needs and expectations long-term.Share
6 January 2017
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