Last Saturday, several of our clients, friends and their family members, attended our annual Trust School. We hold another session of the Trust School each fall, concentrating on Special Needs Trusts. But this spring session is all about all types of trusts. The title this year was “The Truth About Revocable Trusts.” The co-sponsor was Bank of the West. Their trust department, which is headed by Camilla Serrano, was very helpful and knowledgeable. We plan to put this session on the road with them again in Las Cruces in May.
We hold this “school” once a year for all of our clients. We are very aware that we draft trusts for many clients and that as much as we may explain how they work, it may not be completely clear. And, we are very aware that children who may be named as future trustees might like to be informed about what their responsibilities will be. Finally, we often have folks, such as social workers, stockbrokers, accountants, and family assistants, who attend who are not our clients or their relatives, but who want to know more in general about trusts, because they encounter them regularly in their work with their own clients.
The topics of the session of this school covered a general description of what trusts are and why we use them. We discussed the roles of the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiary. We discussed the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts. We talked about the duties and liabilities of trustees. Bank of the West talked about the advantages of using a corporate trustee rather than an individual family member. We described some sample distribution provisions that can be found in various trusts. And we discussed the taxation of trusts, and the latest developments with the estate and gift taxes.
These sessions are free and there is no obligation to attend. The sessions last three hours, which may seem like a long time, but it is amazing how much there is to cover. The participants are encouraged to ask lots of questions, and they do! The announcements of each session each year are sent out by email. If you would like to be invited, let us know and we will include you the next time.