The age-old saying "the devil is in the details" proves to be very true when creating a trust, according to a trust officer at Brown Brothers Harriman, a private bank based in New York City.
Advisors should go over all of the details in the "fine print" of the trust papers for their clients, says Adrienne Penta, who is responsible for trust operations and wealth planning services at the Boston Private Banking office of Brown Brothers Harriman.
“Talk through the administrative provisions of the trust with the client and decide which ones are important to the client,” she tells advisors. Don’t ignore what seems routine because a lot of things can be modified by the client.
For instance, consider the trustee removal provisions. Who do you want to be able to remove the trustee if something goes wrong in the future?
“Anyone can be named as the trustee remover by the person creating the trust,” she says. “Also, the person creating the trust can state in the document if there are provisions he or she does not want changed by future generations.”
Consider when the person leaving the money wants the people to receive it. “Maybe you do not want your 20-year-old daughter or 21-year-old granddaughter to receive the money,” Penta says.
But be wary of trying to give notification of a trust to just one beneficiary because it may not remain secret to the other beneficiaries for very long, she says.
There are even ways in some states that an irrevocable trust can be "decanted," another trust formed and the provisions changed.
“There are lots of different ways to approach a trust,” Penta says. “That is why it is a great thing to look at the provisions ahead of time,” Penta advises.