Create a flexible plan for the future—Whatever it brings

A couple who feels secure in their future because they made a decision to have a trust or a will.

A personal trust can go a long way to help ensure a happy, secure financial future for your loved ones. But the future is often unpredictable—which is why building a trust with flexibility can offer more options.

Why choose a trust vs. a will?

If you want an estate plan that’s flexible, a personal trust can be a great choice. A will only becomes active at death. So if you unexpectedly become ill or unable to take care of yourself, a will doesn’t provide a plan for managing your personal and financial affairs.

Personal trusts, on the other hand, do. They let you create a plan for your own wellbeing, and also help you take care of loved ones. With a trust, you determine how your assets are distributed, to whom, and when. Trusts stay active during your life and after, providing some peace of mind for the present and the future.

Determine the right kind of trust for you

Of course, different people have different needs. And there are different trusts to meet them, with varying levels of flexibility. Some common options include:

  • Traditional trust. A traditional trust names a trustee, or co-trustees, to control all aspects of a trust. This often restricts your beneficiaries to using the same trustee for administration, asset selection, and investment allocation.

  • Directed trust. This kind of trust also has a trustee that handles administration and distribution duties. However, beneficiaries can work with a financial advisor of their choice, instead of the trustee or trustee’s portfolio manager.

  • Special needs trust. This trust provides supplemental funds for a child or family member with special needs, without disqualifying them from state or federal benefits. It also establishes a care plan for the future.

Selecting a trustee

You should consult an attorney when drafting your personal trust. You may also want to consult a financial advisor. They’ll help you create a trust that anticipates all the needs of you and your family.

An important part of creating your trust is selecting a trustee. This person manages the trust, including administration and distribution.

Consider selecting a company (corporate trustee) for this role, instead of yourself or a family member (individual trustee). Corporate trustees provide an unbiased, experienced approach that family members may not have. They also act as a neutral party for any disagreements that may arise.

You don’t know what the future may bring. But with a flexible personal trust, you and your family can rest easy knowing you’ll be ready.