by Dan Satterfield | Staff Writer
As parents of young kids, we would not think of leaving our kids without trustworthy supervision – even for a night out with friends. Yet, when it comes to protecting our young adult and adult children, many of us have not begun to make trust plans. Without a proper plan, the overwhelming responsibility is left to your kids to keep people honest, understand trust and estate law, and make sure family assets and investments are being managed prudently.
Protecting yourself and your family is really quite simple to do if you educate yourself and get some solid answers from a professional. As Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” To get some insight, I called Chuck Cowell, Dallas Market Chairman for Guaranty Bank & Trust.
GLF: Can you expand on the importance of relationship banking to busy families. Please explain the importance of a bank’s trust department.
Chuck: In talking with clients about retirement planning, asset protection or tax planning, the single biggest mistake I see people make is failing to ask the right people the right questions. This is true when clients are talking with their financial advisors, tax advisors, attorneys or even bankers such as myself.
Banks don’t offer investment, insurance, tax or legal advice. Not selling tax, investment or insurance products puts a relationship banker in a position to offer advice free from conflicts. A good relationship banker knows when to call on the professionals working in the bank’s trust department to seek their services and advice.
GLF: What role would the trust department have in helping a client?
Chuck: A good relationship banker will meet with the trust professionals to help them understand each client’s unique goals and objectives and help uncover various links to the different parts of a client’s financial profile. The banker and the trust professionals will then meet with the client to make sure the client has asked the right questions of their advisors regarding matters such as retirement saving, trust and estate planning, structuring and protecting assets and philanthropic giving.
GLF: But at what point does a family of individual have enough assets to need this level of service?
Chuck: The services of a trust department aren’t about one’s assets. They are something everyone should be aware of when they begin thinking of starting a family or about building a business. The key to relationship banking is helping clients understand all the services available to them so they know who to call on when a given situation requires dependable advice and timely assistance.
GLF: So what do I do if I have never had a conversation with my banker about the trust services they offer? What information do I need to get together and what questions do I ask?
Chuck: The best thing to do is to call your banker and schedule an appointment to drop by to talk about the bank’s trust services. If any of your readers would like to call our offices and come by to learn about what our bank has to offer so they have something to compare with their bank’s offerings, we would be glad to talk with them. The key here is that everyone needs someone to talk with to help make sure they ask the right questions and to help them make sound decisions. As relationship bankers, that is at the heart of what we do to help families and communities grow.