A Trust -- Your Hardworking Problem Solver
Trusts are very flexible financial and estate planning tools that can be useful for many of us.
While they can be simple or complex and no two trusts are identical, they all work in similar ways.
How a trust works
Basically, a trust is a legal relationship where you transfer property to a trustee – such as COUNTRY Trust Bank® – for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries – such as your children or a charity.
The trust document, which is drafted by your attorney, sets forth your desires for:
- The duration of the trust
- The powers and duties given to the trustee
- The time and manner of the distribution of the trust income and principal
- The rights of the beneficiaries
Even though the trustee is given control of the trust property, the trustee is legally bound to manage, invest and disburse that property in the manner you state in the trust document.
How a trust can benefit you
Trusts are extremely useful in carrying out your wishes for the future – and even current – use of your assets. They can be used to:
- Avoid the publicity of probate and minimize the costs
Some probate rules make settlement of an estate both a costly and time-consuming process. But assets held in a trust created and funded during your lifetime – often called a living trust – do not pass through probate. Only the trust’s terms govern the trustee’s distribution of the assets.
- Conserve your property
Any number of reasons may prompt you to transfer responsibility for investing your assets to a professional –
- Because managing your investments will always require a lot of time and effort
- Because of the physical and mental risks associated with aging
- Because you aren’t confident that your heirs will be able to handle your money well
- Placing the assets in a trust can assure that a trustee will invest your assets prudently in the event of your disability or death.
- Provide for a child’s education or the care of a special needs dependent
If you want to ensure an education for someone you care about – including those with special health, education, or other needs – you can give a trustee the responsibility to make sure those needs are met. This ensures that any assets you place in trust are used exclusively to benefit your beneficiary – regardless of whether you are there to help or not.
- Protect your assets
Your investments and other assets are always at some risk from lawsuits and creditors. By placing assets in an asset protection trust, you can insulate them from most potential future claims against you. You can even name yourself as the trust’s beneficiary.
- Customize your wishes
You probably know which individuals or organizations you want to receive a share of your wealth. But the needs of each of your chosen beneficiaries may vary greatly. A trust can spell out specifically who gets what . . . and when. Or, the trust can give your trustee the discretion to assess future needs and distribute trust income among the beneficiaries you name as future circumstances dictate.
Benefits of a corporate trustee
You may think that a relative or close friend is a good choice of trustee, but there are some real concerns to consider with that kind of arrangement. Hiring a corporate trustee can alleviate many of those concerns.
- The person or corporation you appoint to be trustee will be charged with protecting your assets. That includes following your wishes as they’re spelled out in the trust agreement, managing the assets for the benefit of your named beneficiaries, and investing those assets prudently.
Few individuals have the expertise to accomplish all of these duties well. COUNTRY has investment professionals who are educated, trained and focused on achieving your goals through a customized investment plan. Our investment decisions are fact-based and never influenced by rumors, tips, or imprudent advice that can lead an individual trustee to make investment choices.
- Serving as a trustee requires handling numerous administrative tasks such as maintaining investment, accounting and tax records, as well as preparing statements of all purchases and sales, dividends, receipts and disbursements.
Unless you name an individual who is extremely organized and efficient, these tasks can quickly become a large paper chase. COUNTRY, as corporate trustee, is a full-time administrator committed to the legal requirement of maintaining your records.
- A trustee is charged with carrying out the terms of the trust and putting your beneficiaries’ interests first.
A corporate trustee is unbiased in the execution of their duties as they are outlined in the trust. They are closely monitored by regulatory agencies to ensure that they are, in fact, acting in accordance with your wishes.
That’s not the case with an individual. Since an inexperienced trustee can seriously jeopardize the future well-being of your family and there is little, if any regulatory oversight, you should give very serious consideration to naming a corporate trustee to carry out your wishes.
- Finally, unlike an individual trustee, a corporate trustee won’t die, move away, or be forced to put your trust on the back burner because of personal or business demands. Your trust is their business.
Hiring COUNTRY® Financial as your trustee gives you all of the advantages that come with a corporate trustee –
- Investment professionals to manage your money
- Administrative expertise to keep your trust running smoothly
- Impartial implementation of your detailed wishes
- Professional oversight of your trust from a stable, reliable company
- And most importantly...peace of mind
For information on specific trust types, download a topic below, or contact a COUNTRY Financial representative near you to learn how COUNTRY Financial can meet your trustee needs.
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