Building Wealth to Last Beyond a Lifetime.
If you have significant financial assets, it’s never too early to start planning how they will be managed and distributed after you’re gone. Having administered trust assets for over 45 years, we know how to steward assets effectively across generational lines. Developing and setting a plan in place as early as possible makes dealing with the transition much easier for all involved.
Whether you have a will you want to execute or wish to set up a trust or endowment that will long outlive you, we are ready to work to ensure your intentions are honored.
Trusts: The name says it all
Unlike a will, which is designed to be probated and then go away, a trust or endowment is a new, living entity. You might think of it as an ongoing footprint by which a person can continue making an impact on the world even after they are gone.
Trusts not only serve a useful purpose after one’s death. Establishing a trust during one’s life can also serve as an effective financial management and asset protection tool. Living trusts can help shield assets from creditor’s claims, spendthrift family members, divorce agreements, and poor investment management decisions.
A trust allows you (the grantor) to transfer assets to beneficiaries (including yourself during your lifetime) via a trustee, who acts on your behalf in accordance with your instructions. The trustee must use his or her best judgment to carry out the grantor's directions while prudently managing the assets. Bequeathing assets through a trust is sometimes better than a gift or inheritance and includes benefits such as:
Ongoing professional management of assets beyond the lifetime of the giver. For example, a trust can provide income to a surviving spouse or children with limited experience managing such funds.
Providing lifetime income for persons with special needs who may be unable to manage their own financial affairs. The trustee exercises his or her fiduciary judgment to ensure that the assets are protected and the needs of the beneficiary are met.
Reducing the size of the taxable estate. Properly structured, trusts can reduce both tax liabilities and probate costs.
Keeping assets out of a surviving spouse's estate while still providing them income, as in the case of a second marriage where the assets are ultimately intended for the grantor’s children.
Keeping estate matters private. While a will is publicly accessible through court records, a trust is not.
We currently provide comprehensive administration for over 100 family trusts, and serve as the investment manager for a similar number of other trusts where the client or other professional is named as trustee. When serving as trustee, The Fiduciary Group’s CEO and Chief Trust Officer, Malcolm Butler, personally assumes the fiduciary role of carrying out the intentions of the grantor. In the last 35 years, Malcolm has served as trustee in several hundred trusts. All appointments are arranged individually with the firm's Chief Trust Officer who works personally with beneficiaries to invest the trust assets, distribute income, provide reporting to all relevant family members, and offer independent, objective advice.
Serving as Executor of Wills
When our CEO and Chief Trust Officer, Malcolm Butler, serves as the executor of a client’s will, he is truly fulfilling the role of a fiduciary: representing the client’s interests and wishes at a time when he or she is no longer able. Having probated more than 150 wills, Malcolm has amassed deep experience as executor over the last 30 years.
The executor first helps the family with such matters as funeral arrangements and meeting with family members to review the will. Probating the will is next, and involves gathering, managing, and protecting probate assets, locating witnesses, notifying creditors, and making a comprehensive study of the financial affairs of the decedent. The executor manages or arranges for management of real estate, investment assets and business enterprises within the estate, collects income owed, and evaluates any claims against the decedent.
The executor then estimates the distributions of the estate for taxes, legacies, bequests, and other costs of settlement, and selects the assets for sale to provide any needed cash. He oversees the preparation and filing of tax returns and selects the best accounting period and strategies to minimize liability. Finally, the executor settles the estate and distributes all legacies and bequests according to the will and any special instructions left by the deceased.
Our fee schedule for trust and estate administration is available on request.