George Clooney is starring in a movie about a family trust. Yes, you read
“The Descendants,” which opened in select theaters last month, offers a great depiction of
what the Trust industry is all about.
The film comes from the creators of
“About Schmidt.” It tells a humorous and tragic story of Clooney’s character Matt
King, a father who must re-examine his past and face his future when his
wife suffers a boating accident. King is also a land baron in charge of
property handed down through generations from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
Difficult Decisions for Trustees
Amid trying to reconnect with his two daughters, King struggles with a
decision on whether to sell the family’s lush land in Kauai. He
is torn between cash-strapped beneficiaries and the original intent of
the family trust to preserve the land for future generations.
The scenario King faces as both a Beneficiary and a Trustee mirrors real-life
dilemmas and tough decisions faced by Trustees every day. King just wants
to “do the right thing.” But doing what is right isn’t
Legal bloggers have written that the film is reminiscent of Hawaii’s
billion-dollar Campbell Estate and of the Bishop Estate, created by Charles
Reed Bishop, a banker who married Hawaiian Princess Bernice Pauahi.
Real Life Families, Real Life Drama
Hawaii’s 107-year-old Campbell Estate dissolved in 2007. Some grandchildren
of the original grantor took a cash disbursement and paid the tax accruing,
but most rolled their interests into a new national real estate corporation.
The estate had to distribute its tax liabilities and assets to the beneficiaries.
The Bishop Estate was founded by missionaries as a non-profit trust that
could have lasted indefinitely if it had not been restructured after a scandal.
A Great Client Gift Idea
I think this film should be required viewing for Advisors and Trustees
alike, and I urge you to consider buying copies of the blu-ray or DVD
when it becomes available next year. It offers Trustees and potential
Grantors a look at what can go wrong when circumstances take a family
trust off course.
To learn more about the movie, visit the official homepage:
If you have any questions about trusts, please contact our office and speak
with me or my paralegal, Suzanne Othman.
This information is from
The Daily Plan-It.