[ WEALTH MANAGEMENT ]
THE IMPORTANCE OF USING A CORPORATE TRUSTEE
By Mey-Ling Perez
As families and individuals accumulate wealth, proper tax and estate planning becomes an important subject to consider. One essential decision clients face when discussing estate planning with advisors, is the proper selection of a trustee. The trustee, after all, will be designated to carry out the plan’s stated goals. In today’s complex legal and economic environment, the role of a trustee can be time consuming and demanding. It is a role that entails critical duties, legal liability and specific expertise. This task can at times become daunting on family and friends.
Some of the common tasks are:
• Legal responsibility for administering the trust
• Accurate accounting and reporting
• Paying any associated debt and expenses
• Reviewing assets and evaluating their performance
• Filing of annual tax returns
• Proper disbursement of any required distributions and discretionary expenses
• Managing family dynamics
Selecting a corporate trustee to administer the trust is a prudent choice, and an excellent way to remove the burden from loved ones. Corporate trustees add significant value to trusts with complex planning structures, or trusts with substantial investable assets. There are various reasons why selecting a corporate fiduciary is a practical choice. Four key elements are:
1) Critical Knowledge and Experience
A corporate trustee can provide focused attention as it is solely dedicated to the administration of trusts. The familiarity and expertisein this space, makes them a reliable choice. Corporate trustees are required to stay current with regulatory changes, which provides grantors and beneficiaries with peace of mind. They also have access to experts to effectively oversee and evaluate the management of the trust’s assets.
Sensitive family issues may arise during the administration of a trust. It is important to have an unbiased party serving as trustee or co-trustee in these cases. The trustee’s duties include making impartial decisions without being pressured or affected by family dynamics. A corporate fiduciary will follow in detail the provisions stated in the trust to make sure the grantor’s wishes are carried out accordingly.
Depending on its type when established, a trust can stretch over many years, often outliving a generation or two. Corporate fiduciaries are best positioned to provide continuity over the life of the trust, with uninterrupted administration and accurate record keeping.
4) Fiduciary Responsibility/Regulation of Assets
Corporate trustees are highly regulated by both state and federal agencies and must adhere to regulatory oversight. Trustees are held to a fiduciary standard of care and must always act in good faith and make sure all the wishes are carried out according to the trust documents.
As the financial landscape becomes more complex the use of professional advisors becomes a critical part of the execution and ongoing management of a trust. Sabadell United Bank, with a dedicated team and decades of experience, is well positioned to serve as corporate trustee for our clients and their families. Our commitment to the highest levels of customer service and expertise, while adhering to fiduciary standards, makes us the smart choice for today and the future.
Mey-Ling Perez is Senior Vice President, Private Banking and Wealth Management at Sabadell United Bank. She is responsible for assisting clients with private and commercial banking needs, as well as investment and trust services. Perez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305.376.2469. www.sabadellbank.com