Trusts might be more of a topic of political conversation today, thanks to the Trump family, than at any other time since President Theodore Roosevelt waged war against the trusts of the Gilded Age. That could be a good thing.
Trusts are not often a subject of much public discussion. They are important to estate planners, but as a matter of pressing national concern they rarely register.
The last time they were considered to be a matter of nightly discussion on the national news was during the first Roosevelt administration, when President Theodore Roosevelt resolved to bring the trusts to heel.
Today, trusts are back in the news because of the Trump administration and how members of President Trump's family are using trusts to hold their assets.
A lot of digital ink has been spilled over whether the President's family is using trusts in ethically appropriate ways.
One of the more recent examples of that comes from a New York Times article on Ivanka Trump's trust titled "Despite a Trust, Ivanka Trump Still Wields Power Over Her Brand."
While the press reporting has been mostly over the concerns about the ethical considerations of the Trump family trusts, there is another possible story.
What the Trumps are teaching us is that trusts can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be created for different purposes and give different people various levels of control over the assets in the trusts.
Whether or not you care about the ethical considerations of the Trump trusts, pay attention to the different things they do with their trusts. It might give you some ideas about what you can do with trusts that you can make part of your estate plan.
Reference: New York Times (March 20, 2017) "Despite a Trust, Ivanka Trump Still Wields Power Over Her Brand."