Bluelingo: A WORD TO THE WISE ABOUT TRUSTS AND FOUNDATIONS/ MY OPINION
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney or anyone who is anything more than just learning myself, however I feel the need to try help others who have made comments about Trusts especially on the calls and who seem to know as little about trusts as I did when I first came on to TNT calls.
The first time I heard “TRUSTS” mentioned as the place to hold our RV money after exchange for its protection I said NO WAY I will not ever have a trust.
My reason for that feeling was I had spent nearly 40 years fighting a trust and was taught carefully that it was the one and only thing to do by our law firm and yet it was a total disaster. I had wrongly been given the understanding a trust was a trust, was a trust and that was it.
When my Father was told he had stage 4 cancer and had only a few months to live, he asked around for what to do to take care of Mother, me, and my stepbrothers. I was just out of high school and starting college. Dad was referred to an older Attorney who was “the best around” and was told to set up a trust and it would take care of Mother as long as she lived which everyone thought would not be too long as she was in poor health herself from worry and care of Dad for years of his health problems.
To everyone’s surprise Mother lived over 34 years to over a 100. The trust became a nightmare for us. The attorney had written the trust but did not want any of us to see it at first. He had asked Dad for an okay and Dad was in no condition to question, so put the local bank as trustee.
We noticed the balance of cash assets seemed to go down a little each year and when we ask for cash for Mother’s special needs, we were pushed off with “you will need to wait until the investments mature or you will lose a lot in penalties” and other excuses. They were charging more fees than the income from the investments.
When we approached the attorneys, over the years we were told, it was all set by law, and they could not change anything, and we had to live with the way it was. Just work with the bank. We went through 3 generations of the attorney’s family in the near 40 years before the trust was closed.
In the end all the family of attorneys died, and their Practice was sold to other attorneys who then figured out why we were always put off and lost most of all the money in the trust. The original attorney firm was also the attorneys for the bank, its biggest client, so they did not want to ruffle any feathers or get caught in a conflict suit, so they hid it all from us.
I had a very bad taste in my mouth about trusts as I had no idea until Ray explained there are many variations of trusts and we needed a NON-STATUTORY, IRREVOCABLE, COMPLEX TRUST. I now understand that what Ray teaches and advises us to do is 180 degrees opposite of what I had dealt with.
I offer this little “parable” so those who do not understand even the most basic things about trusts like I was to start, might get a little better feel for what Ray is talking about and why I now understand at least the difference in what Ray is telling us. I hope others can avoid a bad Trust.
Ray teaches us about and that as he has repeated many times on each call, “Don’t rush to get a trust, wait and learn what is best.” Waiting and learning may save you or your family years of frustration and regrets like my family experienced.
Everyone should understand a “CAR” so here is my example. When someone says you need a new car there are a lot of questions come to mind, which make, model, color etc. So, it is with Trusts there are many types but only one combination that out does all others for what Ray has been teaching us. It must be a trust that contains ALL 3 features, not just part of them. I have learned there are many trust providers out there that say they will provide what you want but actually only truly provide 1 or 2 of the features Ray recommends. Remember NON-STATUTORY, IRREVOCABLE, COMPLEX
STATUTORY OR NON-STATUTORY
A statutory Trust is like having a Railroad car. It is on a set of tracks as laid out by government and it is controlled by what laws they want for you, and you go where they want you to go or live by their ways. You have little control over your trust.
NON-STATUTORY (what Ray recommends) is controlled by the Trustee(s) which if done the way, Ray teaches, it will be you or your family. You are like being on the open road and can design your trust so you can make adjustments as needed to keep your trust current with the needs of the trust and yourself or in other words dodge chuckholes and go the direction you feel is best. This is what he means when he says “Control not ownership”
REVOCABLE OR IRREVOCABALE
Revocable will protect your assets against probate if you die but not much else.
IRREVOCABLE is like having full coverage car insurance. It not only protects from probate but also protects the assets of the trust from suits, personal debt and other things that can happen to you or your family outside the trust. “You don’t own its assets, so they are secure and protected if someone tries to take what you have. Again “Control not ownership” is shown.
SIMPLE OR COMPLEX
A simple trust is again controlled by others, or whoever wrote your Trust. It is like a car without a steering wheel. It is remote controlled and so you go where others directed your course at the time it was written. For example, if you chose the beneficiary of the trust to be a certain entity and they no longer exist you have an expensive process to redo things to make the needed changes.
With a COMPLEX trust the Trustee(s) can adjust as needed as time goes on what will better serve the trust’s purpose or needs. You have a steering wheel and can use it to keep the trust doing the best it was intended to do.
In Conclusion on Trusts. I do not want to sound critical, but Don’t fall for the all the same Natural trusts, Pure Trusts or several other names including the Delaware, Wyoming, Nevada and others that claim to be non-statuary, irrevocable, complex. Some are actually Statutory trusts. They are not as they profess as shown by the fact, they mostly tell you they can produce your trust in only a day or two or week. They do not have all 3 features, usually missing the complex feature, as proven by the time they are one size fits all, cookie cutter produced.
My research has given me to understand it will take 2-6 weeks of going back and forth with the writer of a trust to really do a complex trust with all the features and specific details you should include for your protection and adaptability. Make sure your trust includes all you will ever need for flexibility and 100% to your specific wants and needs.
One more thing that has come to my attention which may be something you will want to investigate is 501-c-3 Foundations.
Recently I came to understand Charitable Foundation are not just 2 types, Operating and NON-operating. There are sub-categories of 501-c-3s. There are numerous sub types some for Religion, as well as many other categories, so one should make sure who you have help setting up your Foundation, so it does not run into problems later filing required annual reports.
My Daughter in law told me to watch for this as she is a CPA who is also a full time IRS Tax auditor working only with 501-c-3s. She says often new foundations are put in the wrong code so must have corrections made to keep their status. Especially do it yourself Foundation writers make these mistakes. Just a word to the wise.