Trust and Estate - Frequently Asked Questions


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Trust and Estate - Frequently Asked Questions

No. Chemical Bank’s investment services are available through:

  1. A modeled investment portfolio account, which provides asset allocation through the use of mutual funds.
  2. An individually managed portfolio with stocks and bonds, or
  3. A variety of other investment agency arrangements.

All include record keeping, periodic statements and year-end tax information.

There are different types of trusts that may fit your particular planning needs. Generally, trusts provide a way to manage your personal or family assets. Some benefits of using trusts as part of your estate plan include:

  1. A designated manager to act in the event of illness or incapacity.
  2. A flexible, customized plan for distributing your assets after death. This may include distributions to beneficiaries over an extended period of time or subject to certain conditions. Assets passing to beneficiaries under a will, under joint ownership, or by beneficiary designation do not generally permit delayed or conditional transfers of assets.
  3. Ongoing and uninterrupted assistance for a surviving spouse or other family members. Throughout the administration of your trust, your Personal Trust Officer is available to provide information and assistance on any number of different financial and estate planning matters.
  4. Probate avoidance and preservation of confidentiality in your financial matters.
  5. Planning to reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
  6. A way to preserve and increase asset value to provide for a special needs child’s lifetime.
  7. Regulated money management for beneficiaries who are not effective money managers.
  8. Protecting assets from beneficiaries’ creditors in cases of bankruptcy, divorce, or litigation. In addition to professional asset management, your trust can provide very important and flexible personalized services including:

Today, the most important reason for establishing a trust is to meet a need or to solve a problem. Chemical Bank handles trusts that range from modest in size up to those with millions of dollars in assets. We invite you to visit with one of our Trust Officers to determine if a trust is right for you.

Chemical Bank Wealth Management helps you simplify the process of creating a trust by following these steps:

  1. We meet with you to review your assets and learn about your estate planning and financial objectives.
  2. We discuss available solutions to help you meet your objectives.
  3. Your attorney prepares a trust agreement. Depending on the type of trust, this agreement may be changed later if circumstances require. We can provide attorney referrals as needed.
  4. Assets are transferred to the trust to be managed by the designated trustee according to the trust agreement.

Not at all. There are a number of ways by which you can retain control of your assets. First, the trust agreement usually specifies that you may make withdrawals (or additions) at any time. Second, you will usually reserve the right to cancel or to revoke the trust. Finally, you also have the ability to provide new or different instructions by amending the trust agreement.

  1. Outline your investment objectives and requirements in detail and then leave the selection of specific investments to Chemical Bank as your trustee or investment manager.
  2. Ask Chemical Bank to submit each investment recommendation for your approval until you feel comfortable that we understand your wishes and requirements.
  3. Ask us to submit recommendations but also retain the ability to direct us to make specific investments of your choosing.

All trustees are required to manage trust assets prudently. The investment return will depend on how assets are allocated and economic conditions. Chemical Bank Wealth Management will work with you to tailor a portfolio that fits your investment objectives, risk tolerance, needs for liquidity, and your individual income tax situation. As trustee, our goal is to provide reasonably consistent returns over the years. Chemical Bank Wealth Management emphasizes careful asset allocation, the selection of quality investments, and constant monitoring of economic conditions and investment selections.

Chemical Bank's fees are competitive with other financial managers, including mutual funds and investment advisory firms. In addition, our fees include record keeping, tax cost basis reporting, safekeeping, investment management, bill paying and other special services that are not provided by all asset managers. Chemical Bank's fees are based on the market value of your account and there are no sales commissions or other hidden charges. One of our Trust Officers will be happy to discuss our fees with you at any time to give you an estimate of the cost.

FDIC insurance protection applies only to bank deposits and trust assets are usually invested in stocks, bonds or other financial assets. To the extent trust assets consist of cash or other bank deposits, however, they are insured by the FDIC.

Regardless of their type, trust assets are held separately from the bank's own assets under strict audit and regulatory controls. Trust assets cannot be used to make loans or to carry on other banking activities and cannot be reached by the bank's creditors. In fact, a significant advantage of having your trust administered by Chemical Bank is the protection of your assets. Ask one of our Trust Officers for more detailed information.

Yes, you can. However, it is important to recognize that few individuals possess the expertise and experience necessary to effectively manage a trust. Individuals die, get sick, relocate, and have their own personal problems and financial matters to handle. The duty to serve as a personal representative or trustee requires knowledge and resources, including time. The responsibility of acting as trustee can be a burden. A professional fiduciary like Chemical Bank Wealth Management has resources dedicated to investment management, tax and legal compliance, record keeping, and dealing with beneficiaries. We are held to higher standards than individuals, operate under policies and procedures established by the Board of Directors, and are subject to audit by bank examiners and internal auditors.

That's easy. Schedule an exploratory talk with one of our trust professionals. It's free! We will analyze your estate planning and investment requirements and answer any questions that you might have. Trust services are available through all Chemical Financial Corporation Banks. For further information about our trust services and fees, please contact us.

A TOD account is an easy and inexpensive way to transfer investment assets at death. This type of account is similar to a trust in avoiding Probate Court involvement after death; however, a TOD account will not provide for any administration after death, other than distributing the assets to the individuals whom you select. If you would like additional information regarding this type of account, then we invite you to visit with one of our Trust Officers to determine if a TOD account is right for you.