Trust Officer : A Trusted Advisor

A trusted advisor is someone who works with your best interests in mind, making decisions based on your desired outcomes and future needs.  Being mindful of those that you choose to be in your inner-circle to advocate when you need them the most is essential.  Working amongst the vulnerabilities of older adults and individuals with disabilities, I am continuously reminded of the importance of being a trusted advisor.

In my role as a Trust Officer, I am often tasked with correcting the wayward paths carved by those who have come before me.  One example comes to mind during a special needs trust administration.  While transitioning into the role of Successor Trustee, I was presented with an overbearing case manager who crafted a care plan for the beneficiary that was wasting the resources of the trust.  With the current rate of expenses, the trust was slated to last 10 years for a beneficiary with a projected life span of 20 years.  The healthcare expenses were outside the beneficiary’s insurance coverage and were not the recommendation of the primary care physician.  Most concerning, however, were the case manager’s billable hours to facilitate the established care plan. 

I relied heavily on the advice of the beneficiary’s family, caregiver and healthcare professionals to determine which, if any, of the supplemental healthcare expenses were necessary to sustain the beneficiary’s best interests.  I formally replaced the case manager and restructured the care plan to prolong the lifespan of the trust.  This restructuring reduced the trust’s expenses by 40%, aligning the life span of the trust with the life expectancy of the beneficiary. This scenario was dire in that it meant the difference between a wasted trust and one that would last the lifespan of a beneficiary with special needs.  It is a testament of the need for trusted advisors in your inner-circle.  Mission Management & Trust Co. takes the role of trusted advisor very seriously.  Our 25th year slogan “Trust for a Lifetime,” summarizes how we advocate for those when they are most vulnerable. 

By Cynthia Wahlin, Trust Officer

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