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Because trusts and trust law are so complicated, if you are like most consumers of trust services, it would never occur to you, nor, surprisingly, are most lawyers willing or able to tell you how to set up bulletproof trusts that put you and your family's needs first. Even fewer lawyers and investment specialists know how to set up trusts that substantially benefit society and give you maximum return over the many decades your trust may be in existence. This site will help you out. It is different than other trust and estate planning books, services and sites...
This site is a Guerrilla Guide to Estate Planning. It sometimes feels like the establishment—the courts, much of the legal profession, the legislative bodies, and even events and time itself—are arrayed as a large, powerful, often extraordinarily well-coordinated, enemy army. And you are there, almost by yourself—perhaps not trying to defeat them, because by yourself that is almost impossible—but to find a way around them to get to your goal. It is in that sense that this is a guerrilla guide. If you go along with the establishment and the established way of doing things, you had better have a lot of money, a lot of time, and be willing to accept inferior performance. If you have to go to court, don't expect sympathy, cost-effective help, or competence; even if you do win in court, it will take years, and you will get back a fraction of the money you should have had for your heirs, had your assets been well-managed.
We’ve all heard horror stories about the old woman whose family or charity of choice was cheated out of their bequests by scheming attorneys or trustees. What you may not realize is just how prevalent conflict of interest is in bank-managed trusts, and how much the current process is structured for the benefit of financial institutions. Through every step of the planning process—from the selection of the attorney who drafts the will and trust documents, to bank trust department fees, to bank trust departments giving less beneficial cash investment rates to trusts they manage than to their other banking customers—the process of naming a bank as trustee for your or your family’s funds is a poor first choice. It leaves you vulnerable: the bank can, and usually will, siphon off funds on an ad hoc and annual basis.
It wasn't always this bad. Retired bank trustee and estate attorney Roger Krasnicki explains the history of where things went wrong with bank trust departments. This article is a must-read for anyone planning, managing or inheriting a trust. Then you listen to the recent Bill Moyers interview with Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith on the Follies of Big Banks and Government. (A part of the show on How Big Banks Victimize Our Democracy.) If you think these two interviewees are biased, listen to the past chairman of Citigroup himself, John Reed, explaining "How Big Banks Are Rewriting the Rules of Our Economy."
Remember, if you choose a bank as trustee and end up in court, you may end up on the wrong side of the law (often bank lobbyists write state trust legislation).
This site is designed with three goals in mind:
Firstly, to empower you with a basic knowledge of how trusts work, and showing you where to go for more detailed information.
Then to help you find trustworthy attorneys, trustees and money managers to plan and execute the transfer of assets at the end of your life.
And, finally, to encourage and facilitate the creation of new laws and greater transparency so that individuals are no longer bullied by all-powerful banks into situations that evaporate their hard-earned wealth.