Why were castles built? First and foremost, for protection. Medieval Lords fortified walled structures to protect their people and their land; to defend against attack, to mark territory, to provide security and insure privacy. They added features to identify advancing forces from a distance and to impede both access from outside and unauthorized depletion of the resources within.
Well-crafted Trusts and thorough estate plans are forms of castles we build for our clients. Within a Trust is held the assets of the family. When properly designed, the wealth of the Trustmaker is identified and organized. The Trustees are empowered with access, and the rules of distribution are laid out for the current generation and generations to come.
While the Trustmakers are able, they have full control over the estate and are free to use the resources, accumulate wealth, or spend as they wish. If they are unable to continue in that role, backups are named, and the Success Trustee assumes the responsibility to act as sentry and gatekeeper with a seamless transition of power. The castle remains intact and stands strong.
When the Lord of the Manor passes away, smaller and even stronger castles are already in place to protect the Lord’s loved ones from attack. Testamentary irrevocable Trusts created within a Revocable Trust provide the protection of a smaller castle. Beneficiaries who inherit in perpetual trusts enjoy creditor and spousal protection for all assets titled into these trusts at the death of their loved one.
Not all trusts are created equal. Just as not all castles successfully warded off invaders. Skillful drafters of comprehensive estate plans are as necessary as skilled craftsmen constructing walls, structures, safety features, and floorplans. Proper planning for medieval properties took into account future growth, additional inhabitants and heirs, and possible complications. A team of advisors was essential, as were stonemasons, engineers, woodworkers, laborers. Specially trained attorneys design Trusts with the input and added expertise of CPAs, investment advisors, financial institutions, insurance agents, and others. An estate plan cannot be properly written, implemented, and funded without an entire team.
Those within the castle walls all played a role in manor life. Rarely were they individuals who did not already have a significant relationship with the Lord and his family. The team that builds your estate plan should be a similar combination of loved ones and advisors; advisors who are not engaged merely on a transactional basis but are long-term trusted professionals with whom a family can build a relationship. Your estate planning team wants to know your goals and your changing needs so the plan can be adjusted as your life progresses. Just as a Lord looked toward the future and planned the castle grounds to grow and change with the kingdom, an estate plan has to be designed for the present as well as the future.
At Ross Estate Planning, LLC, we have long thought of ourselves as castle builders. We look forward to meeting new clients and designing a plan that identifies and organizes their affairs. We work hard to craft a strong yet flexible plan, together with your other advisors, which will enable you to pass along your values and your assets in strong, protective trusts for your loved ones. We strive to create a lasting relationship with you and your loved ones to provide for a smooth, comfortable transition upon your death or disability. You may not consider your home a manor, but we will treat your kingdom, large or small, with respect and expertise, giving you peace of mind and confidence that you have surrounded your loved ones with a fortified castle, protecting them and their futures for years to come.