Keys to Successful Trust Administration, Part 2 of 3

Keys to Successful Trust Administration, Part 2 of 3

Foundation in Family Dynamics
Article posted in Values-Based on 22 September 2015| comments
audience: National Publication, Daniel P Felix - The Professional Trustee | last updated: 30 September 2015


Dan Felix bring us part 2 of his series on Successful Trust Administration. Dan always raises interesting questions about things most of us have never considered.

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

What is Successful Trust Administration?

What makes the administration of a trust successful? How do we define a successful trust? And who gets to participate in that definition?

Is success simply accomplishing the transfer of the trust’s assets from the trust creator to the beneficiary? Or could success also be helping the family to appreciate that gift?

Is success simply avoiding legal claims and lawsuits? Or could success also be helping the rising generation thrive and live more harmoniously?

Is success honoring the freedom of the trust creator to decide how he wants to use his assets? Or could success also be to help the beneficiary to use the trust assets to enhance his own freedom?

Though every trust and family is different, perhaps we can do better in defining our goals by considering some known issues, inescapable components of trusts and trust administration that can make -- or break -- the trust. In Part 1 of this article, we addressed key consideration of legalities. Here, we’ll talk a bit about the key of Family Dynamics.

The foundation in family dynamics.

Trusts live in a highly emotional context of money, death, loss and family. Feelings long-submerged can explode even for the most rational of us. 

Too often, the approach in handling trusts is limited to intellectual, legalistic constructs instead of to also acknowledge the psycho-spiritual and emotional facets that are inseparable from both the individuals and the family as a group.

A high sensitivity to the fact that decision-making is emotion-infused can be critical. This could mean, for one example, that a group meeting of the family may not be practicable, and rather, the individuals should be spoken to separately.

And in the right places, professional family dynamics expertise should be brought in. I know it’s made a significant difference in my practice. Among other things, these professionals can be put to good use to

  • support individuals, such as black sheep and change  agents, 
  • facilitate family decision-making and problem-solving, and 
  • look into the deeper issues of family mission and character. 

Look for our next posting on more keys to successful trust administration.

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