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Money Cents

Turn to a Professional for Trust Management Services
By Shelley Phillips-Mills
Jun 13, 2005 - 10:05:00 AM

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Throughout the course of your life, you take steps to ensure the financial future of your family. Investments and savings accounts can help you rest assured that they will be taken care of, even after you’re no longer there to provide for them. But once you have accumulated a sizable estate that you wish to pass on, the day-to-day management of your assets can become a rather burdensome job. Choosing someone that can provide trust services can allow you the opportunity to spend more time enjoying your family and other activities. Meanwhile, you’ll know that your account will be professionally managed.

A trust is a relationship where a trustee holds the title to assets for the benefit of a beneficiary. The trustee could be an individual person, or a financial institution. Recognizing that there will come a day when you won’t be able to personally oversee all of your assets, choosing a trustee is a very important decision. While a family member may be the first person that comes to mind, remember this is an enormous responsibility and it could turn out to be more of a burden than an honor. In addition, choosing one relative over another could be a source of potential conflict.

Working with a professional trustee can help you avoid some of these conflicts. It also provides you several other advantages. For one thing, you have the assurance of permanent, continuous management of your assets. A professional trustee can also be counted on to carry out the financial plan you outline in your trust document. Furthermore, with a company acting as your trustee, you don’t have to worry about one of your relatives passing on before you do, or becoming physically unable to fulfill the trustee’s responsibilities.

To give you a little better understanding of the benefits of trustee services, let’s take a look at some of the major functions a trust company can coordinate.

Personal Trustee Services - When you name a trust company as your trustee, the company assumes all the responsibilities of handling and managing your account. The directions in your trust document tell the trustee how you want your financial matters managed. The company typically develops an asset allocation and diversified portfolio based on the current and long-term goals of your trust. Those assets are regularly reviewed for consistency with the terms of the trust.

In addition to planning the strategies behind your investments, a corporate trustee can handle the daily maintenance of your account. Dividends and interest generated by your investments will be collected and reinvested, according to your plan. Income and principal distributions to your beneficiaries can also be taken care of on a timely basis. The trustee will even handle the filing of annual fiduciary income tax returns, relieving you from the hassles and time involved in such a task.

Successor Trustee Services - A popular planning option for many individuals is a self-administered living trust. This legal document lets you transfer ownership of your assets to your trust. You continue to manage your investment portfolio, acting as both trustee and beneficiary. You retain full control of your portfolio, but you have the advantage of a professional trustee to succeed you. If you die, become incapacitated, or even if you simply decide to dedicate your time to other matters, the professional trustee can step in to provide a full range of services. You can even designate a corporate trustee and a family member to serve together as co-successor trustees.

Managing your finances for the benefit of your heirs can become a complicated business. Fortunately, you have options available to help relieve you of the burden. To make sure your beneficiaries are taken care of, you may want to consider professional trust services. If you would like to receive the A.G. Edwards’ publication, "Trust Company - A Win-Win Strategy for Preserving Your Wealth," please contact financial consultant, Shelley Phillips-Mills in Bangor at 1-800-947-5456.

This article was provided by A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., Member SIPC.


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