A trust can support and protect
COVER Magazine interviewed Brett Field of Fedgroup Trust regarding the use of trusts by financial planners in creating a holistic plan for their clients.
COVER: Are financial planners making enough use of professional advisors themselves?
Brett Field: The majority of financial planners are still not making enough use of professional advisors when trusts are used in the client’s estate planning process. It is important that financial planners realize that trusts form part and should be included in a variety of holistic estate planning disciplines when giving advice to his/her client.
COVER: Are fiduciary service providers marketing themselves well enough, and are they accessible enough to these planners?
Brett Field: Financial planners can have access to fiduciary service providers by contacting the Fiduciary Institute of South Africa. FISA has a database of FISA registered members on its website at www.fidsa.org.za.
FISA accredited practitioners meet rigid minimum standards in fiduciary competence, integrity and honesty.
COVER: Is the use of trusts in estate planning still relevant and where are the opportunities for financial planners to add value to their clients with trusts?
Brett Field: If your primary goal is to get instant gratification from the estate planning exercise or to save tax and estate duty over the short term, then a trust is not for you. Apart from that, a trust as an estate and financial planning tool is as relevant and important as ever. Even if the tax and estate duty benefits in the long term are ignored, the asset protection benefits of a trust remain significant. A trust is definitely not only for the wealthy. If you are financially vulnerable you must look to protect your assets. A trust is the only vehicle that offers total asset protection. This is achieved by virtue of the fact that a trust is not owned by anyone and a trust cannot die.
COVER: Are there circumstances in which it is essential to use a trust in the plan?
Brett Field: A trust (inter-vivos or testamentary) is essential for minor children, financially challenged
heirs or squandering individuals. With the use of a trust, inheritances and benefits are protected. Divorce is often an emotional time when irrational decisions are made. You may be forced to sell or part with assets you did not intend to. A trust can be used for divorce and maintenance obligations of the parties. In addition, a trust can protect and support surviving spouses who are unable to manage their own financial affairs.