The Need for Education for Grantors, Trustees and Beneficiaries

Date: Sep 05 2012

Teresa Bellock

Most ultra high net worth families rely on trusts, not only as key components of their wealth transfer strategy but also for the transfer of family continuity and legacy. And yet, our experience working with families and their advisors shows that more often than not, key players in the trust lack the understanding and education that is essential for carrying out their roles.  

Identifying the Gap

In an article published in Trusts and Estates magazine’s Ultra High Net Worth Report last month, we zeroed in on the following issues:
  1. When grantors don’t fully understand the trustee role and the qualifications required, it’s difficult for them to choose the right person for the job. 
  2. The person selected as trustee often can’t make a good decision about whether or not to accept because they don’t fully understand the role up front.
  3. Many trustees need help developing a strategy and process for performing their duties.
  4. Beneficiaries often don’t realize that their role requires that they partner with the trustee. 
  5. It’s not always clear who is responsible for establishing measures of success and overseeing the trustee’s performance.


What Can Be Done? 

More information about the issues above and our point of view on how to address them is described in our Trusts and Estates article, which is available to Trusts and Estates magazine subscribers. 
In addition, FOX is offering members and non-members two opportunities for education and training related to this topic this Fall.
  1. We are conducting a session at the FOX 2012 Fall Forum titled “Selecting a Trustee: Five Steps to a Successful Relationship” that will provide insight on the elements needed for a successful trust and for the personal satisfaction of all parties involved. The Forum will be held October 22 to 24 in Chicago and registration is now open. 
  2. FOX is also offering a workshop on this topic titled “Grantors, Trustees, and Beneficiaries: A New Look at Roles and Responsibilities,” to be held November 28-29 in New York, that addresses all five of the issues raised above.  
Have you been a grantor, trustee or beneficiary? Or, are you a family office executive or advisor who has played a role in setting up a trust and/or educating key players? If so, please share your comments or observations about the need for education on this topic. We welcome your insights.