At Cook Wealth, our team of financial advisors and tax professionals have helped hundreds of clients establish trusts as part of their estate planning process. One of the most common misconceptions we encounter—and a belief I think stops many more individuals from establishing a beneficial trust—is the idea that trusts are complicated, expensive, or require more paperwork and headaches than they’re worth.
There’s a perception out there that working with a bank or trust company to set up the trust agreement will cost tens of thousands of dollars and months of back-and-forth with an attorney that only speaks in legalese. But in reality, creating a family trust that protects your surviving spouse, supports your family, and meets your charitable contribution goals is easier than you think—especially when you have a proactive team guiding you through the process.
For high-net-worth individuals, a trust account can be one of your most affordable—and advantageous—financial strategies
Basic estate planning, which can include setting up a family trust, can cost as little as a few thousand dollars—a fraction of the value of the assets held in the trust. But you don’t have to take our word for it. At Cook Wealth, every trust attorney we refer our clients to offers a complimentary consultation where you can talk about how you want your trust structured, what details matter most to you, and how you want it to work, now and beyond your life. After that in-depth conversation, they’ll give you an accurate estimate of the time and costs required to establish your trust and create your estate plan.
The legal professionals we partner with specialize in estate planning, trust creation, and asset distribution. And even though we don’t draw up your legal documents here in-house, we’re closely involved in every step of the trust account process, from helping you identify the goals that matter to you, to ensuring your finalized trust document is clear, straightforward, and easily implemented when the time comes.
Many people can benefit from having a trust, but it’s particularly helpful in a few special circumstances
There are a handful of unique situations that make a trust truly invaluable to your estate planning process. For instance, if you have a child with special needs, a trust can ensure that they’re fully supported with a lifetime of quality care. Similarly, if you would prefer your estate to be paid out to your child or children over a period of time, rather than all at once, or only if particular requirements are met, a trust can facilitate those wishes. That function is beneficial for families with young children, or if life circumstances warrant protecting your child from the risks associated with receiving a lump sum of cash.
In both cases, you can choose to have your trust managed by a trustee who has the experience and expertise needed to handle your estate with wisdom, responsibility, and careful stewardship, while protecting your child from the pressure of handling a large or complicated estate. Many of our clients even choose to appoint a corporate trustee to oversee their trust, like an attorney, who can carry out your wishes from a neutral position—protecting your family members from conflict and trust-related tensions.
Have you had the estate planning conversation with your children? If not, here’s a good place to start.
A trust can protect your wealth, even if you’re unable to
There’s one more reason many high-earners choose to establish a trust: To protect their assets in the event of incapacitation. If at any point in your life you’re no longer able to make the kind of financial and legal decisions needed to properly manage your assets, your trust can designate a reliable party who can oversee your estate on your behalf, and carry out the wishes that matter to you.
Trust accounts can be a useful tool for a lot of high earners, but that doesn’t mean they’re right for every client.
We understand every family is unique. That’s why we don’t push our clients to establish a trust if another arrangement would better meet their needs. Before you choose to move forward with establishing a trust, take the time to sit down with an advisor to talk about your specific situation. If you don’t already have a knowledgeable advisor, connect with our team to find out what’s possible.