What is a blind trust?

There are a variety of trusts that can be utilized to fulfill the needs of an estate planner. Previous posts here have discussed a number of options, including irrevocable trusts in general, charitable trusts and generation-skipping trusts. There is another option: a blind trust.

This type of trust allows trustees to possess full discretion in the handling of trust assets. The beneficiaries of the trust, as well as the trust's creator, have no knowledge about how those assets are handled. The trust's creator can terminate the trust, but he or she will receive no reports from the trust and its investments, if any.

So, why would an individual want to create one of these trusts? There are a few reasons. The primary reason, as can be seen by looking at President Trump, is to shield an individual from potential conflicts of interest. In theory, since a trust's creator and its beneficiaries don't know how the trust's assets are being used and invested, they can make business and political decisions without knowing whether they stand to financially gain from those interests. Of course, there is still some concerns with conflicts of interests because the trust's creator chooses the trustee and, therefore, may have a general sense of how the trust will be managed. The same thinking can be applied to those in the business realm.

Blind trusts serve their own purpose, but they're not right for everyone. However, they do showcase just how customizable the estate planning process can be. There is a way to custom-tailor an approach that fits just about any estate planning need, which is why those who have a vision for the future of their estate and the financial well-being of their loved ones may want to get more information about their own unique situation.

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