Fourteen Tips for More Flexible Trusts
Nov 07, 2018
Louis S. Harrison, Kim Kamin, Martin M. Shenkman
If you were creating a trust 100 years ago, what would have been on your mind?
World War I had just ended. Automobiles were becoming more common. There
were no commercial airplanes. Babe Ruth was a pitcher for Boston. Women didn’t
have the right to vote. Divorce was very rare. Adopted children didn’t have a right to
inherit from grandparents. Children born outside of marriage were scorned and had
no inheritance rights.
Consider the rapid pace of changes in social norms, technology and the law over just
the past decade, let alone the past century, in terms of topics such as same-sex
marriage, gender identity, assisted reproductive technologies, digital assets and
cryptocurrencies. And, of course, the tax landscape is always changing.
The process in which we do estate planning hasn’t changed at near this pace. Too
often, the manner in which practitioners endeavor to help families plan is mired in
our past ways of doing things rather than thinking ahead and planning for the next
100 years. With the trend toward longer lasting (even perpetual) trusts, most trusts
are being designed to contemplate that they’ll still exist in hundreds of years, if not
longer, if the assets aren’t fully depleted sooner.
With this in mind, we’re in the chorus of those singing about the need to draft trusts
for flexibility. Let’s consider these 14 recommendations for creating trusts that can
bend like Gumby and change with the times.
Read their commentary here.
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