Issue 24: 2013

Succession Planning

Agent for Fiduciary Services

Gaining the expertise, support and guidance you need while maintaining your role as an individual trustee or executor.

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Being named as trustee or executor1 by a family member or close friend is generally regarded as an honor, and understandably so, but it is an honor that brings with it significant responsibilities and, often, unexpected challenges.

Serving as trustee or executor is one of the most complex financial roles anyone can undertake. The responsibilities are extensive and often highly technical, and the commitment of time and energy can be daunting. Moreover, the individual serving may be exposed to potential personal financial liability for errors such as missed deadlines or inappropriate tax elections. 

But You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Few individuals have the time, knowledge or wide-ranging expertise to assume the responsibilities and liability that administering an estate requires. But you don’t have to shoulder the responsibilities on your own.

If you’ve been named executor or trustee, you may have the option to appoint co-trustees or co-executors to serve alongside you — ones who can provide the required technical and investment expertise. However, if you’d prefer to retain full control, you may be able to select an “agent” — agent for trustee or agent for executor — to provide expertise, support and guidance to help you make the complex and often difficult decisions that trustees and executors face.

Executor and Trustee Responsibilities Click to expand

Executor and Trustee Responsibilities

As trustee or executor, you have a wide range of significant responsibilities. Here’s an overview (and details on how U.S. Trust can help).

The responsibilities of executors and trustees include:

Making decisions regarding investments and documenting each decision

  • U.S. Trust offers a broad range of investment management solutions. It can provide assistance in developing an investment policy statement, analyzing the risk/return and cash flow implications of investment decisions, and determining an appropriate asset allocation to guide the management of investments. U.S. Trust can also identify strategies to increase tax efficiency.

Balancing diverse and conflicting interests, addressing concerns, and making difficult decisions

  • Among the most sensitive responsibilities of a trustee or an executor is balancing the interests of multiple beneficiaries, possibly even refusing requests by individuals who may be close friends or family members. An agent’s professional distance allows for fair, reasoned decisions and the ability to act as a mediator, or buffer, in resolving issues and settling disputes. U.S. Trust combines sensitivity to human issues with a commitment to assisting you in carrying out your responsibilities.

Reviewing the will and/or trust documents and adhering to the terms of those documents

  • U.S. Trust can help explain fiduciary concepts, provide information on relevant statutes, review documents, and explain the scope of your responsibilities and discretionary authority.

Identifying, collecting, valuing and managing all estate or trust assets

  • U.S. Trust offers sophisticated trust accounting and record-keeping systems to document, maintain and value assets. We are also skilled in the management of unique, nonfinancial assets, such as real estate — including farms, ranches and timberland — and oil, gas and mineral interests.

Seeing that all necessary tax returns and reports are properly prepared

  • U.S. Trust tax experts — who remain current with changing tax laws and administrative rules — can assist in tax preparation and filing as well as the reporting of tax information to beneficiaries.

Distributing trust income and principal to beneficiaries and paying trust expenses (for trustees); determining and paying the deceased’s legitimate debts and estate expenses, and distributing the estate’s assets (for executors)

  • U.S. Trust can help to maintain accurate, up-to-date financial records. We also offer automated distribution and bill payment services, as well as regular and detailed statements for your use and, at your direction, for distribution to beneficiaries.

Developing coordinated and impartial postmortem planning strategies for the estate

  • U.S. Trust deploys its tax-planning expertise and experience in assisting clients with postmortem estate planning strategies.

U.S. Trust, as one of the nation’s largest and most experienced fiduciaries,2 provides executor and trustee services for thousands of wealth management clients. When you consolidate trust or estate assets at U.S. Trust and engage us to serve as agent for fiduciary — that is, agent for trustee or agent for executor — we draw on our considerable experience in this field to help you fulfill the numerous requirements of your role. We are also skilled at working with a client’s existing advisors to coordinate services and advice.

Moreover, our tiered approach offers differentiated pricing that reflects the level of responsibility we assume and the degree of guidance you request. Our flexible offering and pricing strategy allow us to provide you with a comprehensive trust platform that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Comprehensive Services Tailored to Meet Your Needs

When you decide to make agent for fiduciary services a part of your broader wealth management relationship with U.S. Trust, you retain full control of the trust or estate while gaining access to established, comprehensive trust administration and estate settlement resources and capabilities. In all cases, your relationship with U.S. Trust can be tailored to reflect your specific situation and requirements. For example, we can provide administrative support while you engage your accountant to prepare the trust tax return. Our approach is inclusive, and we work to facilitate open communication among all the parties involved. Our focus is on what best meets your objectives and expectations.

Do you self-trustee? Click to expand
Agent for Fiduciary and Family Wealth Services

U.S. Trust’s Agent for Fiduciary services are part of a broader U.S. Trust offering that we call Family Wealth Services, the goal of which is to help meet the broad range of wealth management needs of our clients and their families. Components of the program include next-gen education; eldercare planning; wealth planning for women; and wealth planning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) domestic partners. In addition, it offers a broad range of philanthropic, estate and trust services, including agent for fiduciary.

1In some states, the term personal representative is used in place of executor.
2FDIC Statistics on Depository Institutions, December 31, 2012.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Any information presented about tax considerations affecting client financial transactions or arrangements is not intended as tax advice and should not be relied upon for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties. Neither U.S. Trust and its representatives nor its advisors provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Clients should review any planned financial transactions or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with their personal professional advisors.

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.

Being named as trustee or executor1 by a family member or close friend is generally regarded as an honor, and understandably so, but it is an honor that brings with it significant responsibilities and, often, unexpected challenges.

Serving as trustee or executor is one of the most complex financial roles anyone can undertake. The responsibilities are extensive and often highly technical, and the commitment of time and energy can be daunting. Moreover, the individual serving may be exposed to potential personal financial liability for errors such as missed deadlines or inappropriate tax elections. 

But You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Few individuals have the time, knowledge or wide-ranging expertise to assume the responsibilities and liability that administering an estate requires. But you don’t have to shoulder the responsibilities on your own.

If you’ve been named executor or trustee, you may have the option to appoint co-trustees or co-executors to serve alongside you — ones who can provide the required technical and investment expertise. However, if you’d prefer to retain full control, you may be able to select an “agent” — agent for trustee or agent for executor — to provide expertise, support and guidance to help you make the complex and often difficult decisions that trustees and executors face.

U.S. Trust, as one of the nation’s largest and most experienced fiduciaries,2 provides executor and trustee services for thousands of wealth management clients. When you consolidate trust or estate assets at U.S. Trust and engage us to serve as agent for fiduciary — that is, agent for trustee or agent for executor — we draw on our considerable experience in this field to help you fulfill the numerous requirements of your role. We are also skilled at working with a client’s existing advisors to coordinate services and advice.

Moreover, our tiered approach offers differentiated pricing that reflects the level of responsibility we assume and the degree of guidance you request. Our flexible offering and pricing strategy allow us to provide you with a comprehensive trust platform that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Comprehensive Services Tailored to Meet Your Needs

When you decide to make agent for fiduciary services a part of your broader wealth management relationship with U.S. Trust, you retain full control of the trust or estate while gaining access to established, comprehensive trust administration and estate settlement resources and capabilities. In all cases, your relationship with U.S. Trust can be tailored to reflect your specific situation and requirements. For example, we can provide administrative support while you engage your accountant to prepare the trust tax return. Our approach is inclusive, and we work to facilitate open communication among all the parties involved. Our focus is on what best meets your objectives and expectations.

Agent for Fiduciary and Family Wealth Services

U.S. Trust’s Agent for Fiduciary services are part of a broader U.S. Trust offering that we call Family Wealth Services, the goal of which is to help meet the broad range of wealth management needs of our clients and their families. Components of the program include next-gen education; eldercare planning; wealth planning for women; and wealth planning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) domestic partners. In addition, it offers a broad range of philanthropic, estate and trust services, including agent for fiduciary.

DO YOU SELF-TRUSTEE?

The percentage of ultra-high-net-worth individuals who choose to self-trustee rather than appoint a corporate trustee is rising.

  • 78% 2009
  • 87% 2010
  • 89% 2011
  • 93& 2012
Executor and Trustee Responsibilities Click to expand

Executor and Trustee Responsibilities

As trustee or executor, you have a wide range of significant responsibilities. Here’s an overview (and details on how U.S. Trust can help).

The responsibilities of executors and trustees include:

Making decisions regarding investments and documenting each decision

  • U.S. Trust offers a broad range of investment management solutions. It can provide assistance in developing an investment policy statement, analyzing the risk/return and cash flow implications of investment decisions, and determining an appropriate asset allocation to guide the management of investments. U.S. Trust can also identify strategies to increase tax efficiency.

Balancing diverse and conflicting interests, addressing concerns, and making difficult decisions

  • Among the most sensitive responsibilities of a trustee or an executor is balancing the interests of multiple beneficiaries, possibly even refusing requests by individuals who may be close friends or family members. An agent’s professional distance allows for fair, reasoned decisions and the ability to act as a mediator, or buffer, in resolving issues and settling disputes. U.S. Trust combines sensitivity to human issues with a commitment to assisting you in carrying out your responsibilities.

Reviewing the will and/or trust documents and adhering to the terms of those documents

  • U.S. Trust can help explain fiduciary concepts, provide information on relevant statutes, review documents, and explain the scope of your responsibilities and discretionary authority.

Identifying, collecting, valuing and managing all estate or trust assets

  • U.S. Trust offers sophisticated trust accounting and record-keeping systems to document, maintain and value assets. We are also skilled in the management of unique, nonfinancial assets, such as real estate — including farms, ranches and timberland — and oil, gas and mineral interests.

Seeing that all necessary tax returns and reports are properly prepared

  • U.S. Trust tax experts — who remain current with changing tax laws and administrative rules — can assist in tax preparation and filing as well as the reporting of tax information to beneficiaries.

Distributing trust income and principal to beneficiaries and paying trust expenses (for trustees); determining and paying the deceased’s legitimate debts and estate expenses, and distributing the estate’s assets (for executors)

  • U.S. Trust can help to maintain accurate, up-to-date financial records. We also offer automated distribution and bill payment services, as well as regular and detailed statements for your use and, at your direction, for distribution to beneficiaries.

Developing coordinated and impartial postmortem planning strategies for the estate

  • U.S. Trust deploys its tax-planning expertise and experience in assisting clients with postmortem estate planning strategies.
Do you self-trustee? Click to expand

Source: SpectremGroup, Ultra High Net Worth Investor reports for 2009, 2012, 2011 and 2012.

1In some states, the term personal representative is used in place of executor.
2FDIC Statistics on Depository Institutions, December 31, 2012.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Any information presented about tax considerations affecting client financial transactions or arrangements is not intended as tax advice and should not be relied upon for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties. Neither U.S. Trust and its representatives nor its advisors provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Clients should review any planned financial transactions or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with their personal professional advisors.

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.