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How J.P. Morgan realigned a beneficiary’s expectations

Situation

Samuel is the trustee of a trust created by his deceased brother, and his niece Dani is the primary beneficiary. Dani is an artist and frequently asks for distributions from the trust. Due to some health issues, Dani believes her life expectancy is shorter than average and wishes to maximize her trust assets during her lifetime—particularly because she has no children, and the remainder beneficiaries are estranged family members. Samuel has had trouble keeping up with Dani’s requests, and the responsibilities have strained his relationship with his niece. Samuel considered resigning in favor of a corporate trustee, but Dani is concerned that giving authority to an institution will mean less money from the trust and a more onerous process. She has heard that corporate trustees are difficult to deal with and do not make frequent distributions, with most using distribution committees that may only meet once a month resulting in less timely decisions. 

Our Approach

Samuel met with his J.P. Morgan banker and mentioned his ongoing struggles with his niece, sharing Dani’s concerns about corporate trustees. The banker arranged for Dani and Samuel to meet with a J.P. Morgan trust officer. The trust officer provided an overview of the streamlined process J.P. Morgan uses to review discretionary distribution requests, ensuring that decisions are made as quickly as possible, typically in just a few days. 

Outcome

Both Samuel and Dani agreed that it made sense for J.P. Morgan to step in as successor trustee.  Samuel was thankful to be able to become Dani’s uncle again, and through training provided by the trust officer, Dani was able to fully understand the rights and responsibilities of a trust beneficiary.  

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All case studies are shown for illustrative purposes only, and are hypothetical. Any name referenced is fictional. Information is not a guarantee of future results.

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