In Perspectives

Did you hear the story about the guy who was appointed the trustee of a woman’s trust and he totally took advantage of her and stole all her money?  Or the one about the attorney who appointed himself the trustee of a friend’s trust and wrote the trust leaving everything to himself and his sons in violation of Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct? I could go on with horror story after horror story like these, but I’ll stop – you get the idea – you need to be careful when appointing a trustee.

When you name an individual to act as the trustee, whether it is a friend, family member, or a person claiming they specialize in acting as a trustee, you often times are getting one person in charge of everything without much oversight.  This person does have a duty to provide accountings and whatnot to the beneficiaries, but if a beneficiary is not keeping a watchful eye, or doesn’t know what to watch for, it is very possible for wrongdoing to occur and all the money to be gone without much warning.

“As a trial attorney that handles estate and trust disputes, I regularly see family member fiduciaries make errors that damage the estate or trust.  This can lead to family court disputes as to who should be responsible for the error, which is a legacy no parent wants to leave.  From my perspective, professional fiduciaries are a very prudent investment and serve as an insurance policy of sorts against family inheritance disputes,” said Laura Morris, Partner at Warner Norcross & Judd. Laura is a trial attorney and mediator who specializes in probate court disputes involving trusts, estates, wills, powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships.

Choosing a professional fiduciary allows for red tape on your trust, meaning that there are many checks and balances and oversight on your trust and your trustee. Being a state-chartered bank, we have to adhere to all of the strict banking guidelines, and we are regulated by the State of Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. Legacy Trust is audited annually for procedures and internal controls by an independent auditing firm, in addition to the frequent examinations conducted by state banking regulators. An outside audit firm conducts annual audits of our Trust Operations, Financial Accounting, and Information Technology. With all of those checks and balances, the likelihood of a story like ones above happening to you goes out the window!

At Legacy Trust, we don’t stop there . . . we go further by getting to know you and your beneficiaries on a personal level.  We want your beneficiaries to feel like the person managing the assets that they are inheriting is only a phone call, email, quick drive away, so that if they see anything irregular, if they have a question, or a special circumstance, they know to who call for answers.  When you have a relationship like that with the person in charge of your finances, transparency is the norm.

Do not become another horror story – know your trustee.  Choosing a corporate trustee like Legacy Trust offers you and your beneficiaries layers of protection to ensure your assets are protected and last for as long as possible

Legacy Trust and Your Right to Financial Privacy

At Legacy Trust we have established policies and practices that respect the financial privacy of all individuals who use our trust company. We believe it is critical to comply with the laws and regulations designed to secure your financial privacy. Your relationship with us as our client is very important to us, and we want you to understand our policies and practices about handling your information.

This Policy applies to you – This Policy applies to our relationships with individual clients who inquire about or obtain products or services from us for personal, family and household purposes.

Strict security measures – We take the security of information very seriously. We have established security standards and procedures to prevent access to client information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to guard client information.

Limited employee access – We have established procedures to limit employee access to information to only those employees with a business reason for accessing such information. We educate our employees about the importance of confidentiality and client privacy. We take appropriate disciplinary measures to enforce employee responsibilities regarding client information.

Why we collect information – We collect information about you to:

  • accurately identify you;
  • protect and administer your records, accounts and funds;
  • help us design or improve our products and services;
  • understand your financial needs;
  • save you time when you apply for new products and services; offer you quality products and services; and comply with certain laws and regulations;

We collect information – We collect and maintain your personal information so that we can provide investment management and other services to you. The types and categories of information that we collect and maintain about you include:

  • Information we receive from you to open an account or provide investment advice or other services to you (such as your home address, social security number, telephone, financial information and investment objectives).
  • Information that we generate to service your account or from our transactions with you (such as account statements and other financial information).
  • Information on your transactions with nonaffiliated third parties.

We have established procedures so that the financial information we collect is accurate, current and complete. We are committed to work with you to promptly correct any inaccurate information.

Our selective sharing of information – In order for us to provide investment management and other services to you, we do disclose your personal information in very limited instances, which include:

  • Disclosures to nonaffiliated companies as permitted by law, including those who help us service your account (such as providing account information to brokers and custodians).
  • Other limited disclosures as permitted by law, for example, required reports to government entities.

We do not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes. We do not sell your information.

Former clients – If you end your relationship with us, we will continue to adhere to the privacy policies and practices described in this notice.

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USA PATRIOT Act

Important Information About Procedures For Opening A New Account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; however, federal law prohibits us from waiving these requirements.

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