Checks and Balances

Every once in a while we’ll hear a story about a family for whom a trust was more of a hindrance than a help. Most often it’s because the trust was not created properly, or was old and outdated and hadn’t been reviewed by the grantors on a regular basis. But sometimes the conflict is more personal.

The possibility for conflicts within trust administration is no reason to keep from creating a trust; rather, it is why it is absolutely essential to have a system in place to resolve these conflicts when they crop up. The most effective of these systems is to nominate a Trust Advisor (also called a Trust Protector). A Trust Advisor is a professional, most often an attorney, who can serve as a mediator between the beneficiary and trustee should any disagreements crop up. In addition to serving as a mediator in case of conflict, your Trust Advisor will also be the first person any of your beneficiaries can call on if they have questions about administration or distributions, or conflicts with the Trustee.

Some other options for conflict resolution or prevention are having an airtight no contest clause, a dispute mediation clause, giving the majority of your income beneficiaries the ability to vote to make certain changes to your trust, or having co-trustees who work together. Whatever your situation or preference there are options and tools to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your beneficiaries are provided for with as little conflict as possible.