Smart Ways to Take Control of a Trust

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Many successful families use trusts to minimize taxes, transfer wealth and protect assets from creditors and others. You may have already set up a trust, or you may hold an inheritance you received in a trust that was created decades ago.

Trouble is, too many families relinquish more control over their trusts than they need to, basically hoping that the trustees they have put in charge will serve them well. They take a passive role in their trusts rather than an active or proactive role.

The result: Families can potentially put their goals at risk. Yes, trustees have a legal obligation to serve you and your family. But they also have a duty to serve their owners and shareholders! These corporate trustees have a real financial interest in retaining control over your trust. They also try to avoid controversy: If a dispute among beneficiaries breaks out, they often become passive and look to a court to instruct them.

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