In our previous post, we started discussing how even though the execution of a trust grants its creator certain advantages -- minimization of tax liability, control of asset distribution, privacy -- this final element of secrecy wasn't always guaranteed.
We also discussed, however, that this didn't mean there weren't any measures that could be taken to ensure that the details of a trust remain private. In fact, we'll explore some of these in today's post.
The guiding principle of ensuring trust privacy, say experts, is adopting strategies designed to minimize disagreements with the potential to blossom into litigation.
While a complete examination of all of these strategies is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, here are a few of the more common tactics employed by estate planning attorneys and financial experts alike in minimizing potential conflict over trusts:
- Wherever possible, incorporate flexibility into the structure of the trust and the trust administration process.
- When there are multiple children or beneficiaries, create more than one trust tailored to each person's lifestyle and likely future needs.
- Ensure beneficiaries remain informed of all developments, and hold group discussions as opposed to private meetings if possible.
- Suggest trustees that are knowledge, trustworthy and capable of maintaining neutrality.
- In the event a conflict arises, suggest either mediation or arbitration as a forum through which to resolve matters.
All of this serves to underscore that those considering the execution of a trust would benefit considerably from speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about the law and their options moving forward.