Estate Planning Attorney

We provide professional fiduciary services to complement your wise counsel to your clients, as well as advice and counsel on how to tailor a trust document to meet the needs of your client.  You can bounce ideas off of us as to the effects of certain clauses or property issues that may affect your clients.

Q:

I meet with clients every day to help them with estate planning. What can you offer me and my clients that I do not already provide?

A:
  • We have a depth of experience in trust and estate management that will help you and your client understand how the language within the documents will affect them when the time comes to implement the plan. .
  • With 25 years of experience managing complex assets and complicated family situations, we can give you and your client the benefit of our experience during our meetings.
Q:

How do you work with Estate Planning Attorneys?

A:

Northwest Trustee & Management Services does not draft trust documents, or give estate planning advice to the general public due to a conflict of interest.  Instead, we will work with you to develop a document that will stand the test of time.

Q:

What are some ‘red flags’ that indicate that a client might benefit from using Northwest Trustee & Management Services as trustee or other type of fiduciary?

A:
  • Your client is elderly
  • You sense that your client is vulnerable to overreaching or undue influence
  • Your client or potential beneficiaries are spendthrifts
  • Potential beneficiaries have drug or alcohol addictions
  • There are complex assets in the estate
  • Mixed families or cultural issues
  • Mental or emotional instability of either your client, their spouse, or the beneficiaries
  • Large estates
Q:

What is the scope of your fiduciary services you undertake?

A:
  • Attorney-in-fact under DPOA or Alternate-attorney-in-fact
  • Attorney-in-fact under a medical POA
  • Personal Representative or Co-Personal Representative
  • Co-trustee
  • Guardian

As Trustee, we manage the following:

  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • ILITS
  • Educational Trusts
  • ByPass / Q Tip Trusts
  • Incentive Trusts
  • Family Foundations
  • LLC’s
Q:

What is the benefit of using Northwest Trustee & Management Services over one of my client’s family members?

A:

It is very tempting to assign the role of trustee to a capable family member.  We often hear things like ‘no one knows my family like family’ or ‘they will do it for free’.  However, in our experience, that is a huge risk to the family unit as the strain to complete the duties of trustee can quickly become a large burden.  The family member will often bend under that strain, but not want to give up their duties out of loyalty to the person who assigned them.  In cases where they break under the strain, it causes major family issues, with legal and tax implications for the trustee.  One of the phrases we hear when called in to resolve family issues is, “I never thought this could happen to my family.”  In retrospect, the cost of our services are minimal compared to the fallout of a family member unable to perform the duties of trustee. The toll this takes on the family as a whole is yet another unquantifiable cost.

We are different.  We are objective when it comes to family dynamics, and we care equally for all beneficiaries.  We work hard to understand your clients’ specific situations and compassionately deal with all mental, physical, and emotional issues of the beneficiaries.   We take away the burdensome administrative tasks associated with trust management.  Finally, we provide expertise for complex assets, and monitor the performance of the investment advisor.

Q:

What does the process look like for engaging with you?

A:

If you identify that you have a client that needs trust or estate management, typically it works like this:

  • You call us to discuss the client and their situation
  • We then meet with you and your client in person, or conduct a phone interview if necessary
  • We would then like to see a draft of the document before it is signed and have an opportunity to provide comments
  • We would prefer to have copies of original signed documents in our files.
Q:

Can I just draft you into documents, or do I need to meet with you?

A:

We are frequently named in documents that we are unaware of, and you can legally do this.  However, it is always better for us to see a draft of the document before it is signed.

When we have the opportunity to meet with your client and fully understand their financial and family background, we can work with you to create a plan that ensures that we can carry out their wishes through specific language in the document.  If you would like us to comment on your proposed language we are happy to do so.

Q:

What is the charge for your services?

A:

Our fees are reasonable and usually include three components: an hourly charge, a percentage management fee, (less than 1%), and a tax preparation fee.  You may ask us to draft legal documents for your review with your client.  In that case if the fiduciary appointment is made that requires our immediate management, we will charge our normal hourly rates that will be paid by the trust.

The only time that our fees become unreasonable is when the trust is too small.  For this reason, we do not take new trusts under $350,000.

Related Articles

Case Summary Highlights Potential Pitfalls in Estate Planning

Cam McGilivray, Trust Officer and In-house Councel

The following case was argued before the Washington Supreme Court, in which we successfully defended an estate under our management.  The ruling provides valuable lessons for both estate planning attorneys and their clients who are considering naming a family member as a trustee.

Choosing Northwest Trustee & Management Services Over Family and Friends

Stephen Trefts, President

It is so tempting to name a family member or friend as trustee.  However, the following article highlights why a majority of our clients come to us after family or friends are unable to serve. 

New Laws Herald New Trust Opportunities in the Northwest

Greg Bowman, Vice President, Finance & Business Development

A directed trust allows a person creating a trust to direct specific duties of the trust to a third party, rather than conferring all authority and duties to a trustee.  Before Washington allowed for this, you would have to go to a trust company in another state to receive this service, such as Delaware or South Dakota.  Now you can have the benefit of a local trust management company who can provide with these services.