The Power of Trusts in Estate Planning and Business Planning

Big news here in Utah this week is the announcement that the Utah Jazz will be staying in Salt Lake permanently after the Miller family, led by Gail Miller, announced they had transferred ownership of the Jazz and their arena into a legacy trust.  As quoted in an article in the Deseret News Gail Miller explained:“It gives me a peace of mind . . . knowing that it’s something that can perpetuate and be cared for and that the money will be there to make it happen that now we can concentrate on winning that championship and not worry about having to answer, ‘Are they going to stay or are they going to go?’”This is a great example of the power of trusts in estate and business planning.  Trusts can be used to achieve specific estate planning or business planning goals such as the Millers’ desire to keep the team in Utah.  Other examples might include:

  • Assets kept in a trust can be protected from potential predators, remarriage of the surviving spouse, irresponsible spending, creditors, divorce, etc.

  • Assets in a trust can also provide for a loved one with special needs, without losing valuable government benefits.

  • Trust can be used to create a non-financial legacy. You can write your motivations for the planning and explain discretionary guidelines. If there is heirloom property that is sentimental or historical, you can provide a handwritten note with a story or significance of the item(s).

In an era where team owners will sell out their fans to the highest bidder, I applaud the Miller family in this creative use of trust based planning to keep the Jazz in Utah.