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As we enter the golden years of our life, we are often faced with the challenge of how we can safely put our savings and investments to use while also ensuring that they are properly distributed when we pass. This can be complicated by uncertain markets, complex financial options, and hidden costs. At First Citizens Wealth Management, we are devoted to helping our clients plan, grow, and protect their legacies across generations. For this reason, we believe, in many cases, it is appropriate to consider naming a Corporate Executor or Trustee as part of your planning. So, what is a Corporate Trustee?
Let’s take a look at what a Corporate Trustee is, and why you may want one.
What is a Corporate executor or Trustee? Simply put, instead of naming a friend, spouse, or any other family member, you appoint a corporation, a trust company, or bank with trust powers, to carry out your wishes as designated in your Will or Trust. Here at First Citizens Bank we have a full service fiduciary team with Trust Officers experienced and trained to professionally serve as Corporate Executor or Trustee. We can take on many roles during the life of the a Trust, such as Co-Trustee, Investment agent, or Successor Trustee. If named as Corporate Executor, we might support you doing your lifetime guiding you through the planning process and in many cases, serving as Investment agent during your lifetime. Here are just some of the benefits of working with a Corporate Trustee or Executor:
Experience & Expertise
A Corporate Trustee is in the business of acting as Trustee. Our Trust Officers do this type of work every day. Whereas, an individual, may have other obligations and priorities and with little experience in trust administration, Corporate Trustees are focused on this type of work every day. Because we do this regularly, we have experience with many different types of trusts, assets, legal and tax issues and estate planning strategies. We also pursue continuing education in the administration of Trusts and continuously focus on ensuring we are equipped to handle the work we do.
State and federal agencies regulate Corporate Trustees. While some individual Trustees may have oversight through Court administration, most Trusts are not under Court supervision. Additionally, in all cases, Corporate Trustees are overseen by internal governance structures, audits and examinations. Corporate Trustees also are required to secure insurance. This oversight creates a layer of protection for your wealth that does generally exist with Individual Trustees or Executors.
Corporate Trustees are not reliant upon the schedule of any one individual. That is because, although an individual Trust Officer may primarily administer an account, the internal structure of the organization ensures that sickness, vacations, retirements, etc do not impact the administration of the Trust. At the end of the day, the organization is responsible. Here at First Citizens, we have depth in our team and have systems in place to ensure the continuity of administration.
Often people choose an Individual because they are trustworthy. While this is often true, it is very difficult for family or friends to remain objective. The impact of decisions as Trustee may have personal consequences to them. A Corporate Trustee removes personal biases and interests and provides you with disinterested advice and decision-making solely focused on the long-term goals that you establish through your Trust.
The administration of a Trust or an Estate by an individual can create conflict among your loved ones. We often say, place the target on our back, so that your loved ones can focus on dealing with the emotional impact of losing you through death or incapacity. While conflict doesn’t always arise, we know emotions are often high, old wounds often reopen and new ones may form. A Corporate Trustee can remove the burden of the stress on your loved ones.
Corporate Trustees are bound by the law and approved Fee schedules to ensure fees are reasonable and transparent. While some Individual Trustees may elect not to take a fee, they may engage outside Advisors to manage assets and those Advisors charge fees and expenses. Our Trust and Estate fee schedule includes the fees and expenses of investment management. This means investment management fees and expenses are not added to the Trustee fees. With a Corporate Trustee you can rest assured that any fees and expenses are carefully monitored, reasonable and transparent at all times.
First Citizens Wealth Management can help!
Over the years we have seen the cost both financially and emotionally of naming Individuals instead of a Corporate Trustee or Executor. We are honored to take this burden off you and your family to protect your legacy for generations to come. What are we protecting? The strong relationships between the people you love and care about. How important is that to our Trust Officers. It’s truly what drives us to do the work we do every day.