Giving Your Assets Life After Death

by Jeffrey A. Muddell, Sanibel Captiva Trust Co., Wealth Services

You’ve worked hard in your life. You’ve amassed a wonderful level of wealth. You are doing all the right things with your money today and planning well for the future. Great work! But then, someone tells you it’s time to have that conversation that no one likes to have – the one where you need to talk about what happens to your assets when you leave this world. Not a fun topic to consider, right?

Conducting a family meeting with an open dialogue with your loved ones about this topic is a vital first step in managing this important task. In addition, you should think about having a conversation with your trust company about how they can serve a critical role in protecting your assets after you’re gone.

A trust is a wonderful tool to help protect your assets after death for the benefit of your beneficiaries. In many cases, having an independent trust company serving as your trustee may help to ensure your administration and investment goals are met and all your carefully worded plans carried out.

We’re proud to serve many of our families as an independent trustee, and we can do the same for you when you set up your trust. The benefits are numerous, but here’s a quick look at three:

Protection from the creditors of your beneficiaries. After you die, there are protections afforded by the law to allow you as grantor to set up trusts for your beneficiaries that can protect your assets from your beneficiaries’ future and yet unknown creditors. This is good for your estate, but also good news for your beneficiaries.

Let me give you an example: Your daughter is a physician. If she is a defendant in a malpractice case, a trust is one of the best ways to protect your assets from her potential creditor. Now, some state laws do create variation in the extent of protection. However, the protections afforded by a properly drafted spendthrift trust created for your beneficiaries can be invaluable.

Money management and account services. As trustee, we are responsible for managing your assets and will care for them while continuing to grow and preserve your trust assets through careful and thoughtful management of investment portfolios after your death. Our team is fortunate to have earned the trust of hundreds of clients through the years. Our investment approaches are professional, transparent, and highly regulated.

Protection against your beneficiaries spending or pledging too much. Are you worried your beneficiaries would burn through your inheritance too quickly? You can establish a trust to be administered after your death, directing how the trust funds may be spent for the benefit of the beneficiary.

When you have that conversation about what happens after your passing – and we encourage all our families to begin or review plans for their estate – consider creating a trust and appointing an independent trustee. Our team is always ready to have that talk and advise you on what’s best for your situation.

The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company is an independent trust company with $2.5 billion in assets under management that provides family office and wealth management services, including investment management, trust administration and financial counsel to high net worth individuals, families, businesses, foundations and endowments. Founded in 2001 as a state-chartered independent trust company, the firm is focused on wealth management services that are absolute-return oriented and performance driven. Each portfolio is separately managed and customized specifically to the client’s yield and cash-flow requirements. The Naples Trust Company and The Tampa Bay Trust Company are divisions of The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company. Offices in Sanibel-Captiva, Naples, Tampa, Belleair Bluffs-Clearwater and Tarpon Springs. www.sancaptrustco.com

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