The Complexities of Trusts and Family Tension

May 17, 2019 | Emily Youngblut


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Picture this: as trustee of your mother’s Will, you’re suddenly responsible for carrying out her wishes upon her passing, which consists of giving your sibling $1,000 monthly (from the Testamentary Trust your mother left) until they turn 50 years old

Testamentary Trust

This blog post is a celebration of a partnership success story between a Portfolio Manager at RBC Dominion Securities Halifax, and a Senior Trust Advisor with Royal Trust

Picture this: as trustee of your mother’s Will, you’re suddenly responsible for carrying out her wishes upon her passing, which consists of giving your sibling $1,000 monthly (from the Testamentary Trust your mother left) until they turn 50 years old.

What is a testamentary trust?

This is a trust established in your Will that comes into effect only upon your death. It allows your trustee to hold specific assets for the benefit of beneficiaries without the beneficiaries gaining control of those assets. The assets held in the trust are invested and managed by the trustee of the trust. Please click here for more information on a testamentary trust.

But your sibling is asking to receive higher amounts monthly. For the Portfolio Manager’s client, who happened to be in this situation, he had to choose between the sibling’s wishes vs. carrying out the mother’s legacy. What do you do?

In order to properly discharge his fiduciary duties, the client needed to ask his sibling to justify the need for higher funds. Understandably, he found this was awkward and very difficult to do—creating distance and tension in the family.

The Portfolio Manager then offered a solution that reconciled the family while helping them carry out the mother’s trust with care. He then referred them to a senior trust advisor at Royal Trust, who met with the siblings to discuss appointing Royal Trust as successor trustee of the testamentary trust. They agreed.

When Royal Trust assumed the role of successor trustee, the client was relieved from a duty that was both time-consuming and emotionally stressful. He was grateful to the team at RBC Dominion Securities for their assistance.

Responsibility for managing the trust is now in the hands of Royal Trust, who has provided individuals, families and businesses with estate, trust, incapacity and specialized solutions for more than 100 years.

As mentioned in our blog post The Wealthy Barber on why a DIY approach for executors is often unwise, “getting professional help is about peace of mind and family harmony. That’s the part that’s way too frequently forgotten or underestimated.”

Thanks to the team at RBC Dominion Securities, Halifax and their teamwork, the client was provided with the right solution, at the right time.

For more information on Royal Trust please contact us.