1 – Be Polite:
No matter how frustrated you may be, you need to keep your composure and be polite to the Trustee.
Your tone should be calm and confident. Why? Because it is in your best interest.
If you are hostile to the trustee, they may view you as someone who is NOT capable of receiving trust distributions, of participating in investment discussions, or otherwise dealing with the trust.
Why would you want to contribute to that view? Instead, keep calm even when you have good reason to be upset.
2 – Be Professional:
Your trust is a major financial asset.
It holds assets, pays taxes and is watched over by a Trustee, an investment manager, an accountant, and various beneficiaries.
What does this mean? Your trust is a business matter.
Yes, your trust may have much emotional meaning to you as a beneficiary since it was established for your benefit by a family member. This is very legitimate and important.
To the trustee, however, your trust is dealt with as a serious business matter. He or she is responsible for carrying out the grantor’s wishes, for managing or overseeing the investments, for overseeing the tax preparation and payments and for keeping a balanced perspective for both income beneficiaries and remaindermen.
The more you begin viewing your trust as your trustee does – that is as a business entity, the more you align yourself with the trustee and the easier it becomes to communicate with them.
So in your communications be professional and treat the trust as a business matter not just a family or personal matter.
3 – Be to the Point:
Make your requests “short and sweet.”
It is perfectly acceptable to add a nice word or two in your letter such as “I hope this letter finds you well.”
It is not appropriate, however, to write about other family events or personal matters in the trust letter. This is a sure way to lose your reader – the Trustee.
How to be sure you make your point? You can use one of our many sample letters to simply state what you need.
If you write your own longer letter, make sure you pause then go back and shorten it for clarity and content.
After writing the letter ask yourself how you’d feel receiving that letter.
Does it remind you of a collection agency letter? (too hostile!)
Does it sound like you’re talking to your best friend or therapist? (too personal!)
Or does it simply sound like a reasonable request from a reasonable beneficiary?
Once you can say “yes, it sounds reasonable” you’re ready to send your letter!