Family Trust Knowledge Base
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Family Trust Knowledge Base
This Scoop.It topic collects the various content produced, developed, written or curated by the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory in its mission to help families flourish in the trustscape.
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Chicago Trustee Collaboratory - A Trust is a process as well as a document and it’s best to include the successor trustee in the process from the start

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory - A Trust is a process as well as a document and it’s best to include the successor trustee in the process from the start | Family Trust Knowledge Base | Scoop.it
Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  • Make sure your successor knows what needs to be done and has the time to do it.
  •  Review your trust documents with your successor and your family at least once a year.
  • Your family shouldn’t meet your successor for the first time at your funeral.
  • Make your successor familiar with your assets and your team.
  • Practice with your successor.
  • Share your values and concerns with your successor.
  • Warn your successor about the unpleasant tasks ahead.
  •  Make sure your successor trustee is comfortable with the powers and the constraints of the trust document – and is committed to serve.
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Chicago Trustee Collaboratory on LinkedIn

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory on LinkedIn | Family Trust Knowledge Base | Scoop.it

The Cost of the Wrong Trustee

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

While a family member acting as trustee isn’t paid, it’s important to consider that one gets what one pays for. A bigger picture must be considered. The price tag may be higher than you ever imagined. 

 

Here’s a list of some of the costs for choosing the wrong trust trustee which are elucidated in the article: 

 

  • The Cost of Squandering your Money 
  • The Cost of Shutting out your Family. 
  • The Cost of Thinking They Know Better.
  • The Cost of Banishing Common Sense and Compassion. 
  • The Cost of Conflicts of Interest. 
  • The Cost of Lack of Preparedness.
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Chicago Trustee Collaboratory - Leaving Behind an Unfit Trustee

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory - Leaving Behind an Unfit Trustee | Family Trust Knowledge Base | Scoop.it
Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

After the mindful determination is made that a trustee is seriously flawed, replacement may be accomplished using these steps:

 

  • Ask the trustee to step down.
  • Request action from those who may have the power to replace: the trust protector or appointment holder.
  • If there are legal violations, consider a lawsuit.
  • Develop a strategy using the carrots and sticks at hand.
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Using Zen Strategy to Manage the Pitfalls of Windfalls

Although the inheritance of an amount of money much larger than what one is used to is brimming with opportunities, the emotional upheaval caused by this type of financial transition requires a calm and cool response. This short article points to 6 important steps to take which the author calls, “The Active Pause”.

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

Steps to take if you inherit an unexpectedly large sum:

  •   Self-reflection
  •   Goal setting
  •   Financial team building
  •   Financial planning process
  •   Personal responsibility
  •   Have some fun
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The Opportunity to Define Success in Family Trusts: VIDEO

Playing by the rules isn’t enough in family trusts. Instead, a family benefits from defining what constitutes winning. That’s the message from the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory (“CTC”).  In this video clip from a recent CTC meeting, Daniel P. Felix sums up the thought. Dan is an attorney, a trustee and advisor to families, and current President of the CTC.

 

The CTC continues to lead the discussion around building family trusts that work. The CTC has launched a quarterly series examining the components of successful private trusts. Developed in cooperation with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (“IICLE”), the series started on March 18th and the next will be June 17th. For more information (including registration and copies of DVD’s) click here:

http://chicagotrustee.org/event-2207818

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  • Sets of rules need to include definitions of winning.
  • The rules of baseball and other ventures define winning.
  • Family trusts need to define winning along with the list of rules.
  • After the grantor is unavailable, beneficiaries should re-define winning within the trust’s terms.
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Guidance for Elder Life Planning - Don’t Wait For a Crisis

Many find themselves having to discuss elder life planning under crisis circumstances.  This article explores how to lead inner circle family members through the critical questions that will inevitably need to be addressed, in a safe and organized way.  

 

Article by Irving S Capitel, J.D., Mediator/Abritrator 1-847-212-6611

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

  This process will help guide your family group to discover and answer:

    1. Where everything is?
    2. What will need to be done?
    3. Who are the players?
    4. What are they willing to do to help?
    5. What are everyone's thoughts and how can they work together to accomplish the goals of all?
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“The 6 Phases of Beneficiary Stabilization”

The emotional upheaval caused by a large distribution of cash requires a calm and cool response.  The beneficiary requires a stabilization process where he is given the time to make one good decision at a time.  The active-pause is ancient wisdom where on takes stock I one is, assess a problem and settle on a future course of behavior.  The article discusses the six phases of the financial stabilization process.  

 

Sheldon Zeiger is an estate planning attorney and financial planner working in Chicago, and a member of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory (“CTC”). Shelly will be serving as a faculty member for the CTC educational series on successful trusts conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (“IICLE”). Specifically, Shelly will be teaching about the ways to use Distribution Policy Statements in family trusts. For more information about the CTC/IICLE series, including registration, click here. http://goo.gl/5WNM8V

 

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  • A beneficiary may not be prepared for a financial windfall and go into money shock.

 

  • The emotional rush of sudden money in the form of an inheritance causes impaired decision making.

 

  • The danger is that the new found wealth will be squandered.

 

  • The upheaval of  new found wealth requires a cool and calm response.

 

  • The financial stabilization process is called an active calm.

 

  • An active calm is a meaningful pause where one can study his surrounding, assess a problem and settle on a future course of  behavior.

 

  • In an active pause a beneficiary doesn’t make any decisions that they don’t have to.

 

  • Six stages of an active pause involve: self reflection, goal setting, building a financial team, financial planning, personal responsibility and having some fun.

 

  • Your active pause period should take as long as you need to make one good decision at a time.
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When is a family trust “successful”?

A family trust has lots of rules – but who wins? When can you say a trust is “successful”?  In the first of a series of articles, Daniel P. Felix, JD and Professional Trustee, offers some thoughts.

 

The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory (“CTC”) has addressed this core concern. Besides being a recurring theme at monthly meetings, members of the CTC conducted a full-day seminar on various Keys to Successful Trust Administration.  The seminar was produced in collaboration with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (“IICLE”), and you can get more information, including a recording here

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  1. What makes a trust successful often isn’t directly addressed.
  2. What makes a trust successful isn’t immediately obvious.
  3. Trust laws provide necessary minimum standards.
  4. Following the trust laws doesn’t guarantee a successful trust.
  5. Trust administration that abides by the law may still be a burden or worse for the family.
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What every family business advisor needs to know: Emotion trumps reason 100% of the time

What every family business advisor needs to know:  Emotion trumps reason 100% of the time | Family Trust Knowledge Base | Scoop.it

Myth: The goal of any family business is to maximize profits


A case: One beautiful, sunny day, Edward, 73, sat back at his desk and assessed his life. He was living the dream—with one exception. He had several homes, a devoted second wife, and he spoke with his best friends every day. However, his business was failing. Over the past ten years, he had hired many…

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  1. Family businesses don’t always share the same goals as corporations:  to maximize shareholder value.
  2. Family business leaders don’t always know when their decisions are coming from an emotional vs. rational source.
  3. The results of failing to consider emotional needs can be heart-wrenching for all involved.
  4. Skilled professional can help align needs and values and minimize the chances of heartbreak.


Cathy Carroll wrote this article for the FFI Practitioner, whose theme for 2015 was “Myths and Realities.”  This case study highlights how emotions drive decision making in a family business more often than not, since they can.  Bringing in an expert in emotional intelligence or family dynamics can help family businesses align needs and values. 


Cathy, a member of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory, is the founder of Legacy Onward which brings leadership and executive coaching services to family businesses.

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Accessing the Family as an Integrated Emotional Unit through the Trust - VIDEO

In this 6 minute video book review & analysis, the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory delves deeper into the practical & wise offerings of the book "Trustworthy".


The six experts participating in the second of five parts:

  • Siree Sandberg Bakakos
  • Daniel P. Felix
  • Tom Horne
  • Sue Rhomberg
  • Joe Smith
  • Michael G. Stuart
Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

In this video, the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory addresses a few key issues around the concept of thinking of the family as an integrated emotion unit.


This is one of the points raised by Kathy Wiseman in Chapter 2 of "Trustworthy"  - and one of 10 key points the Collaboratory identifies in the book.


The Collaboratory’s insights include:

  • This is a “must” concept to be accessed as soon as possible. 
  • It helps the family work together and do what what’s best.
  • Helps those working with the family to understand that their non-rational reactions. 
  • Request alignment over agreement in governance.
  • Communication and acceptance is key. Consider using thinking circles.
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Using Trusts to Educate The Next Generation - VIDEO

In this 6 minute video book review & analysis, the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory delves deeper into the practical & wise offerings of the book "Trustworthy".


The six experts participating in the first of five parts:

  • Siree Sandberg Bakakos
  • Daniel P. Felix
  • Tom Horne
  • Sue Rhomberg
  • Joe Smith
  • Michael G. Stuart
Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

In this video, members of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory address a few key issues around the opportunity of using a trust to both educate the next generation and promote their maturity.


This is one of the points raised by Kathy Wiseman in Chapter 2 of "Trustworthy"  - and one of 10 key points the Collaboratory identifies in the book.


The Collaboratory’s insights include:

  • Using this opportunity well is key to helping the family flourish.
  • The family should be accepted and worked with from wherever they are at. 
  • The rule of thumb of 3 parts qualitative to 1 quantitative applies. 
  • Work with meaning, context and alignment.
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Spencer v. DiCola - Part 2 - the family falls out of love with their trustee – could this relationship be saved?

The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory took a look at both the legal and practical lessons from a trust relationship that degenerated to the point of court hearing, appeal, and re-appeal.

 

In Part 1, we looked at the legalities.  Now in this Part 2, we look at the practicalities.

 

The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory is also staffing a full day seminar using this lawsuit as a case study.   For more details of this offering from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, check out goo.gl/FACR8p

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

1)   The litigation was expensive, and could have been out of proportion to the size of the trust.

 

2)   To what extent could the lawsuits have been avoided through:

  1. the development of a Distribution Policy Statement for the limited funds in the trust?
  2. better communication through the down market?
  3. mediation as the family became increasingly alienated from the trustee? 
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“Bad Patients”: Sympathy Through Understanding

“Bad Patients”, those, for example, who are non-compliant or angry, can make it difficult for providers to offer the best care possible − especially given a hectic and frustrating healthcare system. Understanding the complexities of “bad patients” may assist providers in their efforts to administer treatment more effectively.

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  • Providers may have an easier time helping these patients if they understand some of the complexities these labels hold.
  • Noncompliance is one of the most prominent issues in healthcare today.
  • Entitled and angry patients and family members have many reasons for being unhappy with their healthcare quality.
  • Alienating care providers almost never results in better health outcomes.
  • Regarding patients with mental health issues, support staff is critical and communication during moments of lucidity are key.
  • Patients who are excessive talkers  are difficult for care providers because it is a challenge to discern the important information from the “red herrings” that spew out at high volume and speed.
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Chicago Trustee Collaboratory - Knowledge, skills and stories left behind create a treasured legacy

A deliberate and mindful legacy can leave lasting impressions in the lives of family members

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Writing the Final Chapter of a Life is an Act of Love

It has been said the relative comfortable acceptance of one’s dying is probably the most difficult, yet most important psychological accomplishment of a person’s life. Once that bridge has been crossed, the time for “The Talk” is at hand. In this article, the authors clearly delineate the subjects that should be included in this vital conversation and present questions to guide you and your family through this challenging process.

 

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

The following questions will help guide you and your family in getting your final affairs in order in an orderly way:

 

  • Where is everything?
  • What will need to be done?
  • Who are the players?
  • What are they willing to do to help?
  • What are everyone’s thoughts and how can they work together to accomplish the common goals?   
  • How can the risk of disagreement, misunderstanding, stress, and financial issues be reduced?
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Legacy Conversations That Matter.pdf

Most people focus on money and property when thinking of what will be passed down to their heirs.  But there is something far more enriching that you, your parents and grandparents can give to succeeding generations – namely, the essence of who each family member was and how they lived their lives – as told by you and those who have known each of you best.  Capturing your stories is easy to do if you approach it with a plan as well as with love and compassion.  This series will guide you so that you and your family members can experience the unique joy of passing down the legacy that is, and will forever be, you.

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

This is the first of a series of blogs on how to have meaningful legacy conversations within your family.

This article will cover:

  • What is legacy?
  • Our discussion of legacy begins with two (rather simple) definitions: A gift by will, especially of money or personal property; Something received from an ancestor or a predecessor.
  • What are legacy conversations and why do they matter?
  • Where to begin the conversations?
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Avoid Conflict by Finding Meaning in Trust Administration

Why do trust professionals find it so difficult to interpret trust documents in a way that is consistent with grantor intent and beneficiary needs.  We can avoid many conflicts and disputes if we consider the emotional needs of our beneficiary’s.  Money is not the ultimate currency.  Finding meaning and happiness is much more important.  How can trustees take a more nuanced approach to trust administration.   We must recognize that the real purpose of any trust is to serve as a living moral document where we can help the beneficiary  find happiness and meaning in their life.

 

Sheldon Zeiger is an estate planning attorney and financial planner working in Chicago, and a member of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory (“CTC”). Shelly will be serving as a faculty member for the CTC educational series on successful trusts conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (“IICLE”). Specifically, Shelly will be teaching about the ways to use Distribution Policy Statements in family trusts. For more information about the CTC/IICLE series, including registration, click here. http://goo.gl/5WNM8V

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

SCOOP IT:

-Should trust professionals view a trust a neutral and objective document?

-How can a trustee balance grantor intent and beneficiary needs?

-Avoid many conflicts and disputes by taking a nuanced approach to trust administration.

-For a beneficiary the ultimate currency is not money but finding meaning and happiness.

-Low correlation between material wealth and happiness.

-The real relationship between between money and happiness involves the idea that enough is enough.

-Considering the emotional  perspectives of all interested parties should be the determinate of all trustee actions.

-Purpose of any trust document is to serve as a living moral document where real people can find meaning and happiness.

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The Three C’s of Successful Family Trust Administration

A family can enjoy a successful trust by building Clarity, Consensus and Competence. That’s the message from the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory (“CTC”).  In this video clip from a recent CTC meeting, Daniel P. Felix sums up the thought. Dan is an attorney, a trustee and advisor to families, and current President of the CTC.

 

The CTC continues to lead the discussion around building family trusts that work. The CTC has launched a quarterly series examining the components of successful private trusts. Developed in cooperation with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (“IICLE”), the series started on March 18th and the next will be June 17th. For more information (including registration and copies of DVD’s) click here:

http://chicagotrustee.org/event-2207818

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

Family Trusts can be more successful with the 3 C’s

CLARITY is important for the beneficiaries as well as the grantor

By cultivating CONSENSUS, a family can enjoy successful alignment

By building COMPETENCE,  a family builds its preparedness.

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Family business leadership is harder than leadership elsewhere. Learn how!

Family business leadership is harder than leadership elsewhere.  Learn how! | Family Trust Knowledge Base | Scoop.it

Cathy Carroll spoke with Nicole Martin of HR Boost about what makes leadership in a family business unique.  The interview aired on Advisor TV on December 3, 2015.

 

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  1. Family businesses operate with a different set or priorities other than maximizing profit which makes decision making and alignment unusually challenging.
  2. Family business is the crossroads of family and money, which is the apex of emotion.  Strong emotions result in fuzzy thinking which makes leadership and executive functioning difficult.
  3. Family businesses are the illogical marriage of two incompatible ideologies:  Socialism and Capitalism.
  4. Decision authority in a family business, when not transparent and clear, can result in confusion with employees throughout the business.

 

A member of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory, Cathy is the founder of Legacy Onward which brings leadership and executive coaching services to family businesses.

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Easy pitfalls to avoid during family business succession

Cathy Carroll wrote this article for the National Automatic Merchandising Association.   This article outlines five pitfalls to avoid in succession planning of a family business.


A member of the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory, Cathy is the founder of Legacy Onward which brings leadership and executive coaching services to family businesses.

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  1. When there are many stakeholders in the succession process, goal clarity for each stakeholder is essential to building a plan everyone can agree on.
  2. Succession is ultimately an emotional decision as well as an emotional process.  Ignoring the emotional considerations puts successful transition at risk.
  3. Start talking about succession years before the process actually begins to allow the stakeholders to evaluate their options and start to plan.
  4. Often, succession involves difficult conversations.  Don’t hide from them.  Engage in the discussions, even when it’s hard, to increase the chances of a successful transition.  It takes time to adjust to unwelcome news, but people do adjust when treated fairly and with transparency.
  5. The use of experienced professionals who collaborate during transition can help avoid common mistakes and set the family up for successful transition.
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Help Your Family Enjoy the Benefits of the Samoan Wisdom Circle

  1. The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory learned about the Samoan Wisdom Circle by participating in the 5th annual Rendezvous Conference of the Purposeful Planning Institute (“PPI”), whose compelling theme was “The Road to Mastery”. 
  2. We hope you find this new technique to be helpful in your world, and also an inspiration to connect directly with the presenters as well as the PPI. 
Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:
  1. The Samoan Wisdom Circle is an excellent variation of the Quaker Wisdom Circle.
  2. This Circle also enhances deep understanding and dispute resolution.
  3. The Samoan Wisdom Circle allows for a small group of key people to have a deep discussion.
  4. The Samoan Wisdom Circle allows for only those who are moved to talk at the moment to participate in the discussion.
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It's in the asking - effectively posing trust-related questions

Too often, the questions we ask don't necessarily elicit the response required or desired, nor do they allow us to drill down to the core issues that are troubling a client.  


Frustration, added time, unhappy clients or families and ineffective solutions or unresolved matters may be the result.


The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory studied the issue over two months. Members Sue Rhomberg, Michael Stuart and Daniel Felix, summarized the findings in this four-page report. 

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

The frame used around questions leads to dramatically different responses.    


Specifically, the use of an outcome-based frame tends to elicit more helpful and deep responses, than those questions that merely recognize and frame around the problem.


Further, the technique of allowing the interviewee not to answer questions, but simply to rate the questions helpfulness toward discovering the problem added another powerful tool.

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Why the Chicago Trustee Collaboratory? - YouTube

Lawyer & Trustee Daniel Felix founded The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory to help families flourish and to be a leading resource for trustee knowledge.  

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

Our mission is to help families flourish in the trustscape. 

We do that by articulating, advancing and implementing best practices and practical wisdom for trust administration. 
Our approach is focused on ongoing peer-to-peer discussions, trainings and on-line content.


Our vision is to be the leading resource for trustee knowledge.
We develop and produce content in various forms - such as video's, written articles, and blogs.   We also curate the content of others.   All to collect the wisdom families - and their trustees and advisors need. 
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Spencer v. DiCola - Part 1 - the family falls out of love with their trustee, but the court won't grant the divorce.

The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory took a look at both the legal and practical lessons from a trust relationship that degenerated to the point of court hearing, appeal, and re-appeal.


In this Part 1, we look at the legalities.  In Part 2, we'll look at the practicalities.


The Chicago Trustee Collaboratory is also staffing a full day seminar  using this lawsuit as a case study.   For more details of this offering from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, click here.

Chicago Trustee Collaboratory's insight:

1)   It can be hard to remove a sitting trustee.   A trustee’s defense of his position is permitted, and not considered “self-serving” even if it goes against the family.


2)   Drafting pointer: a trust can provide in what situations a sitting trustee may be replaced.


3)   Court modifications of the trust are best memorialized with word-for-word changes to the trust document.

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