Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts: What Should You Choose?

If you are planning a trust-based wealth management strategy, should your trust be revocable or irrevocable? The answer turns on your objectives for the trust.

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April 2015

A Good Time to Review

For better or worse, most of us are finished with our income tax returns for at least another year. Before you file away all of your supporting tax papers, now would be a good time to review your assets and your estate planning documents to see that they do not conflict with each other.  What do I mean by conflict with each other? Look at how your assets are registered and how your estate planning documents distribute your estate upon death.
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March 2015

Congratulations, Siobhan!

I am proud announce that Siobhan Connolly has been promoted to Vice President and Trust Officer. Siobhan’s area of responsibility is managing and administering to Garden State Trust Company client relationships.

For those of you not familiar with the responsibilities of a trust officer, I would like to share this with you. Many years ago, and I mean many years ago, I read what Judge William Rhodes Hervey best described as the essence of a Trust. When you read the essence of a trust, all you have to do is substitute Trust Officer for the word It, and you will get  a feeling for what Siobhan does every day.

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February 2015

Don’t Take The High Road!

         I recently met with an older couple who were interested in how best to distribute their estate when they are both gone. During our conversation, I learned that they have one married daughter who, in their own words, has a pretty level head when it comes to managing money.  However, they had some concerns about their son-in-law and his not so level head when it comes to money management. In addition, he has a difficult time holding down a job for more than a year or two.  The daughter and her husband have two young children.

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Donor-advised funds

Dear Garden State Trust Company,

Tell me about donor-advised funds. What are the advantages and disadvantages?



A donor-advised fund provides a mechanism for you to dedicate significant resources to charity, securing an immediate tax deduction, while leaving to a future date the identification of the specific charity for your philanthropy. Funds contributed to a donor-advised fund grow tax free. All contributions are irrevocable.

The donor-advised fund is sometimes considered as an alternative to a private family foundation. There is less regulatory overhead for the donor with the fund approach and no requirement that 5% of the assets be distributed each year. As a practical matter, however, about 20% of fund assets have been distributed each year, according to the National Philanthropic Trust.

Appreciated stocks are a good choice for contribution to a donor-advised fund, because the tax deduction will be based upon the fair market value of the securities on the date of contribution. Thus, the donor avoids capital gains tax on the built-in gain, yet gets a full charitable deduction.

Donor-advised funds have boomed in popularity in recent years. Assets in these funds nearly doubled from 2008 though 2013, reaching $53.74 billion, according to There are an estimated 217,000 donor-advised funds, up 34% over the past seven years.

Garden State Trust Company