Polarity Thinking: Critical Guidance for Family Trusts and Trustees - Part 5 of 5

Polarity Thinking: Critical Guidance for Family Trusts and Trustees - Part 5 of 5

Closing Thoughts on the Practice of Polarity Thinking in the Trustscape
Article posted in Values-Based on 5 August 2015| comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 5 August 2015
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Summary

Dan Felix wraps up his compelling series on Polarity Thinking.

By Daniel P. Felix, JD – © all rights reserved 2015

Part 5: CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE PRACTICE OF POLARITY THINKING IN THE TRUSTSCAPE

Polarity is an essential trait of all things. Tension, contrast, and contradiction characterize all of reality.…To ignore the paradox is to miss the truth. – Abraham Joshua Heschel

A masterful trustee will create Maps as appropriate to deal with the polarity at hand for – and sometimes with -- the various stakeholders of the trust. Given that the polarities are inherent and not going away, the trustee may revisit these Polarity Maps® periodically. She may perform this practice by herself and, as the situation suggests, with the stakeholders. In fact, the stakeholders may even take on some parts of Mapping on their own.

In addition to being documented in detail, Polarity Maps® can also be sketched out on the fly, as needed. In fact, with time and experience, a trustee can incorporate Mapping into her consciousness and so create Maps intuitively.

By the simple act of Mapping, the trustee may also satisfy compliance requirements for documenting the process of her decision-making.

On a different level, utilizing a Map can have a secondary gain of minimizing the risk of claims around the trust’s administration. That’s because a successfully functioning trust for the stakeholders should also be one in which the trust is less subject to claims. Claims are not only adverse to the trustee but also tend to divert energy and resources away from primary positive trust activities.

So, now back to Tom and Betty. Tom first understands that he’s dealing with a polarity – the core polarity of the trustscape. This means there’s a process of considering the elements of the interdependent pair, and it’s not a simple decision, even in the possible, but unlikely event that the language of the trust leaves no room for discussion.

Empowered with his version of the Gifting and Receiving Polarity Map, Tom can look at the whole of the system, and not just a part. He has to look to his responsibilities to empower and benefit Betty as well as his responsibilities to carry out the directions of Calvin, the trust creator.

He can use the Map to organize the many facts which we’re not privy to, such as among others, the language of the trust: whether Calvin expressly defined education to exclude her intuition classes, and to what extent Tom retains discretion or is able to rely on another distribution provision to fund Betty’s training.

Especially if his decision does not favor Betty, Tom may find it appropriate and helpful to walk Betty through the Map to demonstrate his analysis as well as to demonstrate the importance to him of benefitting her in other ways and perhaps even of her involvement and opinion. This may mitigate her disappointment and preserve or even enhance her confidence and trust in Tom.

Though individuals and situations will vary from trust to trust, the trustee who applies Polarity Thinking may better help his trust families deal with the inescapable features of their experience.

___

The author gratefully acknowledges the generous and gracious support and help of Barry Johnson, founder and principal of Polarity Partnerships, LLC, and his colleague, Susan Dupre.

See www.PolarityPartnerships.com. The author also gratefully acknowledges the editing help of collaborator, Neesa Sweet, Braided River Group, www.braidedrivergroup.com.

ADDITIONAL INSTALLMENTS:

First: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO POLARITY THINKING 

Second: THE CORE POLARITY IN THE TRUSTSCAPE: BALANCING THE TRUST CREATOR’S WISHES AND THE NEEDS OF THE BENEFICIARIES

Third: MAPPING THE CORE POLARITY IN THE TRUSTSCAPE

Fourth: A FEW OTHER REGULARLY APPEARING POLARITIES IN THE TRUSTSCAPE

Fifth: CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE PRACTICE OF POLARITY THINKING IN THE TRUSTSCAPE

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