One of the many memorable scenes from the movie classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” takes place when Ferris and his friends drop off a Ferrari in a downtown Chicago parking garage. In the scene, Cameron doesn’t trust the car’s safety with the parking attendant, who says to them somewhat indignantly, “Relax … you fellas have nothing to worry about. I’m a professional.” The screen then cuts to the parking attendant and his buddy zooming off in the Ferrari as Ferris and the group go on their way.
I find myself often giving the same message to clients when describing the idea of involving a corporate fiduciary in their trusts/estates. However, unlike the parking attendant in the movie, a corporate fiduciary really can be counted on to protect your precious assets.
Here are 10 reasons to consider using a corporate fiduciary:
- Obedience: follows the terms of the will or trust closely to honor your intentions.
- Knowledge: knows the rules and procedures to follow in administering trusts/estates, from beginning to end.
- Experience: has experience in dealing with all sorts of real world situations that may affect a beneficiary, which could range from buying a house to fighting substance abuse.
- Resources: has significant resources available to help best manage a trust/estate.
- Efficiency: helps minimize mistakes or errors being made by non-professional individuals who do not know what they are doing, which could add further complication and costs to legal proceedings.
- Advice: in many cases, will have a team of advisors with different specialties to help serve various aspects of the trust/estate, including in-house experts who will manage the investment of the assets to help preserve and grow them for your family for a long time.
- Consistency: can provide a sense of continuity in the administration of trusts, due to the longevity of institutions versus the inevitable rotation of individuals serving as successor fiduciaries.
- Impartiality: is not partial in the handling of duties and won’t play favorites, unlike some family members who may be easily swayed in their decision making because of family relationships.
- Protection: has a lower risk of losing assets due to theft or wrongdoing by unscrupulous individuals; but also is required to be adequately insured in the event of any loss of assets.
- Professionalism: takes its responsibilities seriously and may be held to a higher standard of care due to its level of expertise and skills.
Yes, corporate fiduciaries charge for their services, which makes some clients uneasy, but most states’ laws allow any fiduciary, including individuals, to receive compensation for services. In fact, using a corporate fiduciary could even reduce costs because as part of their overall services they might assume tasks customarily handled by other advisors, such as accountants and lawyers.
More importantly, choosing any fiduciary is a serious task, mainly because of the heavy responsibilities and burdens that come with the job. Employing the experience of a corporate fiduciary can be an effective tool in shifting the burdens of administration away from your loved ones, allowing them to put more focus on their quality of life, which Ferris Bueller would certainly appreciate.
This is the first in a series of posts that will focus on the benefits and uses of corporate fiduciaries. Please stay tuned for future Preservation posts on this topic.