Family Advancement Sustainability Trust: A Flexible Trust That Can Achieve Many Estate Planning Goals

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
Contact

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.

While, ultimately, you create an estate plan to meet technical objectives, such as minimizing gift and estate taxes and protecting your assets from creditors’ claims, you should also consider “softer,” yet equally critical, goals. Because you’ve spent a lifetime building your wealth, it’s important to educate your children or other loved ones on how to manage wealth responsibly. In addition, you may want to promote shared family values and encourage charitable giving. Using a “family advancement sustainability trust” (FAST) is one option to achieve these goals.

Creating a leadership structure

It’s not unusual for the death of the older generation to create a leadership gap. A FAST can help fill this gap by establishing a leadership structure and providing resources to fund educational and personal development activities for younger family members.

For example, a FAST might finance family retreats and educational opportunities. It also might outline specific best practices and establish a governance structure for managing the trust responsibly and effectively.

Dissecting a FAST

Typically, FASTs are created in states that 1) allow perpetual, or “dynasty,” trusts that benefit many generations to come, and 2) have directed trust statutes, which make it possible to appoint an advisor or committee to direct the trustee with regard to certain matters. A directed trust statute makes it possible for both family members and trusted advisors with specialized skills to participate in governance and management of the trust.

A common governance structure for a FAST includes four decision-making entities:

  1. An administrative trustee, often a corporate trustee, that deals with administrative matters but doesn’t handle investment or distribution decisions,
  2. An investment committee — consisting of family members and an independent, professional investment advisor — to manage investment of the trust assets,
  3. A distribution committee — consisting of family members and an outside advisor — which helps ensure that trust funds are spent in a manner that benefits the family and promotes the trust’s objectives, and
  4. A trust protector committee — typically composed of one or more trusted advisors — which stands in the shoes of the grantor after his or her death and makes decisions on matters such as appointment or removal of trustees or committee members and amendment of the trust document for tax planning or other purposes.

Exploring funding options

It’s a good idea to establish a FAST during your lifetime. Doing so helps ensure that the trust achieves your objectives and allows you to educate your advisors and family members on the trust’s purpose and guiding principles.

FASTs generally require little funding when created, with the bulk of the funding provided upon the death of the older generation. Although funding can come from the estate, a better approach is to fund a FAST with life insurance or a properly structured irrevocable life insurance trust. Using life insurance allows you to achieve the FAST’s objectives without depleting the assets otherwise available for the benefit of your family.

Not so fast

If your children or other family members are in line to inherit a large estate, a FAST may be right for you. Properly designed and implemented, this trust type can help prepare your heirs to receive wealth and educate them about important family values and financial responsibility. Your estate planning advisor can help determine if a FAST should be part of your plan.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
Contact
more
less

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.