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What is trust & estate planning?

The word estate simply means all of the assets you own. An estate plan details what will happen to your assets (home(s), car(s), jewelry, investments, savings, etc.) when you die. An estate plan also delegates authority to trusted individuals who will help with your medical, financial, and legal decisions. Everyone needs a plan for their estate! Through estate planning, you are able to retain control of your assets after your death, ensure your things are taken care of the way you’ve outlined, and alleviate the stress and tension that could burden your family if they are left not knowing what to do with your assets. 

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement through which a trustee manages assets for the benefit of beneficiaries. A trust is commonly used to transfer wealth to heirs or to favored charitable organizations. Insurance products, such as life insurance policies, annuity contracts, and disability policies, may be used to fund trusts in appropriate circumstances.

Trusts are flexible and may be drafted to meet your specific intents and customized to meet the specific needs of your beneficiaries. You can use trusts as a key element in a comprehensive estate and wealth transfer plan, or to otherwise direct how your legacy will be managed and distributed after your death.

Trust services include:

  • Investment management & prudent diversification of account assets;
  • Periodic statements, annual tax reporting and investment reporting; cash management, custody and prompt distribution of assets;
  • Processing of capital changes such as stock dividends, splits, exchanges and tenders;
  • Bill paying, automated deposits and disbursements (ACH and wire);
  • Income collection and allocation

Advanced estate planning and trust services require specific knowledge typically not provided by many financial professionals. Using trust services means collaborating with a third party that has your best interests in mind while the trust is set up through an attorney. The person appointed as your trustee should have the knowledge and capability necessary to administer sometimes complex arrangements and to meet the fiduciary duties and responsibilities that are imposed under trust law. If properly drafted by an attorney and administered by the trustee, a trust can help ensure that trust assets are managed and distributed after your death as you had desired.

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*The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel.