The evolutionary path of a beneficiary
Senior vice president at Whittier Trust Company Richard Llewellyn offers a unique perspective on the three roles a beneficiary plays over the course of his life in this month’s Estate Planning. Once a beneficiary becomes entitled to distributions, an evolutionary process is set in motion and often follows a well-established pattern consistent with human nature, Llewellyn writes in the article “Anticipate and Smooth the Evolutionary Path of a Beneficiary.”
He makes the case that awareness of this process can help a settlor design a trust to minimize potentially adverse effects of the evolutionary process.
“When settlors are working with their attorneys to establish a trust, they usually focus on the trust terms, trustee powers, and distribution provisions,” Llewellyn writes. “All of this is done with the goal of implementing the settlor’s wishes for the beneficiary. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that the existence of the trust itself is likely to have an impact on the beneficiary that will last for many years.”
Whittier Trust Company is an independent investment and wealth management firm with more than $8 billion under advisement, serving more than 270 families and 30 foundations throughout the U.S. One of California’s oldest wealth management companies, the firm has helped families manage, grow and transfer wealth intergenerationally for seven generations.