Garton & Harris

Preserving legacies through trusts instead of wills

It may be that a man or woman has the good fortune to acquire an asset of such value, financially, historically, or sentimentally, that he or she wishes to be certain it stays within his or her family. Ensuring the continuity of a treasured asset can be an important part of estate planning. For most people in British Columbia, wills are the preferred way to bequeath an asset. However, a trust may, in fact, be a better choice for passing along and protecting an asset.

Recently, the owner of the NBA's Utah Jazz transferred ownership of the team and arena from herself to a legacy trust. Together with her late husband, she acquired 100 percent ownership of the team in 1986 in order to ensure the team would remain in the state. Her intent was to secure the future of the team in Utah and within her family.

Under the terms of the trust, she will act as trustee until her demise, after which control is passed to a board of managers. The board counts among its members four of her children and one grandchild. The trust is set up to provide the resources necessary for her family to operate the team well into the future, potentially for many generations.

Creating trusts to keep valued assets in a family may provide opportunities wills cannot, including tax benefits. Providing for the future of one's family is a noble undertaking, but it may not be one an individual would want to take on alone. A skilled lawyer experienced with British Columbia estate law may be the right person to contact for help.

Source: USA Today, "Jazz ownership transferred to trust", Jan. 23, 2017

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