Trusts and Estate Issues

Family dynamics and wealth intersect powerfully in the area of estate planning. All parties involved have to contend with multiple issues. The elder generation has to balance many competing factors - fairness, generosity, privacy, openness, respect for the next generation's autonomy, desire to hold children and grandchildren accountable for responsible behavior, and not wanting to enable a life without purpose. For the next generation, there are equally daunting concerns such as how to manage an inheritance successfully and how to deal with efforts to control behavior by parents or trustees.

Jim Grubman assists families in working through the dilemmas of inheritance, trusts, and other estate planning strategies. He is experienced in helping clients think through solutions that strike a balance among competing interests. To help families approach the anxiety-producing process of open discussion, he is skilled in facilitating family meetings using good communication guidelines for safe, effective negotiation and resolution of issues.

The Financial Skills Trust and the Results Oriented Trust Environment™

Jim Grubman has collaborated on a ground-breaking new approach to discretionary trust design with attorney Jon Gallo and psychotherapist Eileen Gallo, the well-known authors of Silver Spoon Kids and The Financially Intelligent Parent, at Gallo Consulting. The new design is called the Financial Skills Trust (FST). It focuses on beneficiaries' skills for handling money responsibly, not on how beneficiaries make choices about career, jobs, level of education, or work ethic that may be desired by trust creators such as parents or grandparents. It supports the autonomy of beneficiaries while holding them accountable for good financial self-management. The FST has many advantages compared to common methods of trust design such as incentive trusts or the use of an ascertainable standard ("health, education, maintenance, and support") for trustee discretion. The principles of this type of trust are part of the Results Oriented Trust Environment™ or ROTE™. The concepts of the ROTE™ have been drawn from the recent trend toward similar principles in the workplace, called the Results-Only Work Environment or ROWE.

The first description of the FST and ROTE™ was presented in January of 2011 at the 45th Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law. Two shorter articles were published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning which summarized the problems with attempting to use money as an incentive in trusts (Part I) and the basic design of the new Financial Skills Trust (Part II).

Jim Grubman provides consultation and training about the use of the Financial Skills Trust to families and advisors, either alone or in conjunction with the Gallos.

Assisting families with thoughtful solutions to inheritance, trust, and estate planning dilemmas,