Let’s Get Personal
By Lesa Creveling
Ensuring future generations respect your values, intentions and hard-earned savings.
Some of us remember Sergeant Joe Friday and his famous line, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Many estate planning attorneys (myself included) tend to stick to the facts, e.g. names, birthdates, relationships and so forth. With Oklahoma’s passage of a statute allowing trusts to be perpetual, it now behooves us to get personal.
The new statute covering perpetual trusts generally provides that the Oklahoma Constitution is not violated as long as there is any person who, alone or in combination with one or more others, has the power to sell, exchange, or otherwise convey the trust property. If the terms of a trust provide for this, the trust may exist in perpetuity.
Imagine your hard-earned savings being utilized by your great -great -great grandchildren. Obviously, they never met you, so they have no idea how hard you worked, how wise an investor you were, or what your values and priorities were. It is also probable by then that the individual trustee and/or the corporate trust officer didn’t know you either.
One way to personalize your trust so that beneficiaries and, more importantly, successor trustees can get to know you is to add a personally drafted statement explaining your philosophies, intentions, goals and desires for future generations and provide examples of incentives you would recommend the trustee implement or behaviors which you would expect the trustee to take action to stop or, at least, not reward.
Another way to personalize a perpetual trust is to appoint a trustee advisor or trust protector. This is a person or entity appointed by the terms of the trust instrument to act as an advisor to the trustee with regard to all or some of the matters relating to the administration of the trust.
Your perpetual trust can outline the powers given to the trustee advisor as well as outline the types of individuals who might be appointed to serve, e.g. attorney, accountant, minister, or other trusted party.
If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of a perpetual trust and the various ways to personalize such a trust, please give us a call.