Monday, October 12, 2009

Ok - another rant!

During my 37 years as a practicing lawyer, I usually advised people against setting up Living Trusts, as most of the people I served really didn't need them. It was also my personal preference that these trusts, if they were set up, use corporate trustees only as a last resort. My personal opinion is that corporate trustees don't care much about the individual circumstances of the trust settlor or his/her beneficiaries. I think recent correspondence from the major bank whose symbol of progress is a depiction of 19th century mail delivery rather confirms my bias.

I am presently handling the assets of an adult with special needs whose major asset to help pay personal expenses and care is a trust being administered by said major bank. I have recently received a couple of letters that I find somewhat amusing.

In the first I am advised that my ward's "Relationship Manager" (he had a name and returned phone calls, but that's irrelevant now, I suppose.) would soon become a "Central Service Team" who can be reached through a post office box in Nevada or by calling the 800 number for said Central Service Team. I am then assured that this team is "familiar with [the] account." Not a lot of money involved here, so it's highly unlikely that the Team will be devoting much time to it. It does raise a question: How many Trust Professionals with extensive experience and training make up a Team?

The second letter I received again assures me that this "group of experienced professionals" is familiar with the account. But this one creates some confusion. It notes that although the administrative duties for the account have been moved to the "Centralized Trust Office" presumably at the PO Box in Nevada (how may Trust Professionals will fit into a Post Office Box?), the "current Investment Manager will remain the same."

So who would have the information I needed if I had a question about, say, the money needed for the care of my ward? And, while I'm told in this form letter that "we", presumably the Team will be working with me and consulting as necessary with the previous administrator, the letter is signed - well not exactly signed, as there is no signature as such - the letter is concluded with a Sincerely, Centralized Trust Office. I feel so loved and cared for. What kind of fools do they take us for?

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