Monument Wealth Management Articles

How To Know It’s Time For A Corporate Trustee

Sep 07, 2021 Passing Down Family Wealth

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As time progresses, we live longer, work harder, invest smarter, and accumulate more wealth that we hope to protect and pass on to future generations.

For some individuals, appointing a corporate trustee can provide peace of mind when it comes to the conservation of that hard-earned wealth and legacy. Instead of an individual, like a trusted friend or family member, a bank or trust company serves as the trustee when you have a “corporate trustee”.

However, is there a sweet spot (aka, the perfect time and place) for a corporate trustee? The truth is, it depends. But thankfully, corporate trustees can be hired for a multitude of reasons. Chances are that if at least one of the below circumstances resonates with you, it might be a good time to consider a corporate trustee:

  • You are worried that your loved ones who survive you may not be well-equipped to serve as a trustee of a large, potentially complex trust, especially if you intend the trust to benefit multiple generations of your family.
  • You have a very small roster of potential trustees to serve during your lifetime or after you pass away.
  • Your family dynamics are complicated, or even downright contentious and you foresee problems arising when you are no longer around.
  • You have a complicated situation, such as a family member with special needs, or a large estate consisting of illiquid or non-publicly traded assets, like ownership of a business.

So, reason with us. Are any of these hitting close to home? If so, let’s dive into some additional information to help you further solidify your decision.

The Corporate Trustee’s Role

If you name a corporate trustee to manage your trust during your lifetime, or as a successor trustee to take over upon your passing, you are essentially hiring a professional to handle the administration component. A corporate trustee exists to bring a higher level of expertise, objectivity, and knowledge of complex tax and estate laws that a non-professional may not have.

While different corporate trustees may offer a variety of services in their administration of a trust, they typically:

  • Manage your investments in line with your goals for the trust or oversee how they are managed by a financial advisor.
  • Manage distributions from the trust to its beneficiaries according to what the trust directs.
  • Handle valuation of illiquid assets like real estate, business ownership, or other tangible property like artwork or valuables.
  • Coordinate with a CPA on tax preparation and filing for the trust.
  • Provide additional non-financial services that help you or your family members ensure their needs are being met.

Of course, there can be a number of other use cases, but that’s the beauty of a corporate trustee’s unique skill set. As long as you have a trust in place, they can be appointed to act in a fiduciary capacity to execute on it based on your wishes.

The Corporate Trustee’s Value Proposition

We all seek to obtain products or services that offer what we reasonably believe to be an attractive value proposition–basically, we want incentives. So, let’s break down what those could be.


The key value-add for enlisting the help of a corporate trustee is golf. That’s right–golf, or fishing, sailing, or whatever your or your family’s favorite hobbies might be. Because a corporate trustee is devoted to full-time administration of your trust, you or your heirs are left free to do other things–like securing that standing tee time at a favorite course or getting that garden going you always wanted. The goal is that the corporate trustee ends up being a net-zero cost due to additional wealth they create for your or your heirs’ benefit and the time savings experienced.

Fiduciary duties

Have a Karen in your family? The corporate trustee has an obligation to do the right thing–it’s their fiduciary duty. This can help to reassure apprehensive family members (ahem…Karen) that all financial decisions are being made in everyone’s best interest. Then, you can get back to hosting non-awkward Thanksgiving dinners or rest assured that family dynamics will not be negatively impacted upon your passing due to the stress of managing wealth for individuals with different values, ideas, and desires.

Taxation & estate planning

As Ben Franklin once stated, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Everything is taxed, including the wealth we pass on to our family and others to some degree. Your team of advisors, like a trust and estate attorney, a CPA, and a wealth manager can help you pre-plan to maximize the after-tax value remaining for your heirs. But what happens when you are no longer here? A corporate trustee can provide continuity across many generations and help ensure that your trust is administered in a way that sustains wealth no matter the legal or tax environment your heirs may find themselves in in the future.

Corporate trustees have significant expertise and experience in this area. Having them as a crucial resource provides the opportunities to save money and exponentially increase your family’s wealth.

What Works For You

In the end, we all have to decide what is best for our own interests.  For many busy professionals and high net worth individuals, the value a corporate trustee can provide is making your life simpler, more manageable, and enjoyable while providing a sense of security that future generations will be able to benefit from what you’ve built.

If you’re serious about accumulating and protecting your wealth, managing complex business assets, or tax efficiencies, it’s definitely time to start the process by reaching out to a corporate trustee for a consultation.

Monument Wealth Management provides a variety of investment planning and management services, and while we can’t serve as a corporate trustee, we can make sure that you find one that fits your needs. We’re easy to work with, prefer that you bring your dog to the meeting, and won’t waste your time with nonsensical, financial jargon. If you want to get on the path to increased wealth and savings, we can help pave the road.


Listen to our Off the Wall Podcast episode on Corporate Trustees, for more insights from our Team and from guests Michelle Diamond and Heather Savage from Cumberland Trust.

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Ready for straightforward, unfiltered opinion and tailored advice for YOUR questions, not everyone else’s?

Emily M. photo

Emily M. Harper, CFP®

Vice President & Partner

Emily’s background in the financial industry began after she graduated from the University of Virginia. During a seven-year run in various advisory and leadership roles at a global asset management firm, Emily acquired four industry licenses, a certificate in Financial Planning from UVA, and her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

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