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Recommended Reading - Family Trusts: A Guide for Beneficiaries, Trustees, Protectors & Creators

Updated: Mar 13


Family Trusts: A Guide for Beneficiaries, Trustees, Trust Protectors, and Trust Creators by Hartley Goldstone, James E. Hughes, Keith Whitaker

Members of Northland were fortunate to meet the Jay Hughes just before he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the FWR Awards held in NYC. His writings are ‘must reads’.


Family Trusts is a step-by-step guide for anyone involved in family trusts: trust creators, trustees, beneficiaries, and advisors. It will help families create and administer a culture that recognizes trusts as a gift of love.


Marrying the practical and emotional aspects of family wealth, this book provides a hands-on primer that focuses on fostering positive relationships, and structuring the trust appropriately for the situation and the people involved. It tackles difficult topics with frank and honest discussion, from the first beneficiary meeting to working with addictions, and more. Written by a team of experts in family wealth, this information is becoming increasingly crucial to the successful execution of a trust; you'll learn what type of person makes the best trustee, how to be an excellent beneficiary, and the technical aspects that help you build a better trust from the very beginning.


There's been a staggering increase in trustee/beneficiary litigation and hostility, but that doesn't mean it's inevitable. Plenty of trusts are running smoothly, with positive experiences on all sides. This book shows you how to set up your trust to succeed from the start, with step-by-step guidance and expert insight.

  • Express clear and thoughtful intent for the trust

  • Create a healthy and supportive culture

  • Select the right trustee, trust protector, and trust advisor

  • Take the time to prepare before initially meeting the beneficiary

  • Conduct a productive first meeting to set a tone for the relationship

Historically, there has been little consideration given to the culture of trusts, and this oversight may be a key driver of the behavior that's becoming more prevalent. Family Trusts explores the nature of these relationships, and shows you how to build a trust that retains the nature and spirit with which it was intended.


About the Authors

Hartley Goldstone Following 25 years as attorney, senior trust officer, and advisor to clients of a multifamily office, Hartley left the institutional trust world to found his firm Trustscape LLC in 2009. In 2014, he became associated with Wise Counsel Research, a nonprofit think-tank and boutique consultancy focused on matters of wealth and philanthropy.


Hartley launched the Beneficiary and Trustee Positive Story Project in 2010 to collect stories told by beneficiaries and trustees that reflect compassion and wisdom in the midst of complexity. Two years later, he co-authored TrustWorthy, a collection of 25 of the real-life stories. In 2013, the Positive Story Project became the theme of his online column for the journal Trusts & Estates.


James E. Hughes, Jr., ESQ, is the author of the book Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family, and numerous articles on family governance and wealth preservation. He is the founder of a law partnership in New York City, Hughes and Whitaker, specializing in the representation of private clients throughout the world. He frequently facilitates multi-generational family meetings with a special emphasis on mission statements and governance issues. He has spoken frequently at numerous international and domestic symposia on international estate and trust planning. He is a member of the Board of The Philanthropic Initiative, a Councillor to the Family Office Exchange, an emeritus faculty member of the Institute for Private Investors and a member of the Board of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and a Senior Dean of the FOX Family Learning Center and a member of the Board of the FOX Foundation. In addition, Mr. Hughes is an advisor to New Ventures in Philanthropy. He is also a member of the boards of various private trust companies, an advisor to numerous investment institutions and a member of the editorial boards of various professional journals. Mr. Hughes was a partner of the law firms of Coudert Brothers and Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue. He is a graduate of the Far Brook School, The Pingry School, Princeton University and The Columbia School of Law.


Keith Whitaker Dr. Keith Whitaker is President of Wise Counsel Research. He has many years of experience helping enterprising families design family meetings, clarify their values, and educate their rising generation. In 2015 Family Wealth Report named Keith "outstanding individual contributor to wealth management thought leadership."


Keith has served as a Managing Director at Wells Fargo, an adjunct professor of management at Vanderbilt University, and an adjunct assistant professor of philosophy at Boston College.

Keith's books include Wealth and the Will of God (Indiana University Press, 2010), The Cycle of the Gift: Family Wealth and Wisdom (Bloomberg, 2013), the Voice of the Rising Generation: Family Wealth and Wisdom (Bloomberg, 2014), Family Trusts: A Guide (Bloomberg, 2015), Complete Family Wealth (Bloomberg, 2017), and Wealth of Wisdom: the Top 50 Questions Wealthy Families Ask (Wiley, 2018).


Keith holds a Ph.D. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago and a BA and MA in Classics and Philosophy from Boston University.

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