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Let's Talk Family Enterprise

Nov 12, 2019

Welcome to Let’s Talk Family Enterprise, a podcast that explores the ideas, concepts and models that best serve Family Enterprise Advisors in supporting their clients.

What do Family Enterprise Advisors need to know about trusts? Hartley Goldstone shares the most important aspects of a trust, which he has learned over 30 years of experience.

He also shares some valuable, actionable tips for advisors who will undoubtedly come across trust situations in their practice.


Guest Bio

Hartley is a seasoned expert in the arena of trusts and has 30 years experience as a trust attorney and senior trust officer until 2009, when he set up his company, The Trustscape LLC, which focuses on helping clients create supportive trust cultures. In 2010, Hartley launched the Beneficiary and Trustee positive story project which culminated in his book Trustworthy, a collection of 25 stories capturing what has gone well in the trustscape. He is the lead author on the seminal work Family Trust, a practical guide on how to use trusts to pass on wealth.

Key Takeaways

[0:16] Ruth introduces Hartley Goldstone, his background and publications, and invites him to define the term Trustscape — a fluid system of relationships — that he himself coined.

[7:22] From being an attorney to understanding that it all boils down to relationships: Hartley shares a fable that illustrates how he came to understand what hopes and dreams have to be addressed in a trust.

[11:25] Hartley speaks to the long history of trusts, all the way back to the middle ages and how they relate to relationships.

[15:20] Ruth talks about James E. Hughes Jr.’s comments on the staggeringly high number of trustees reporting that they are unhappy with their trust. Hartley touches on some beneficiary and trustee realities that could explain those numbers.

[19:46] Hartley shares his vast experience in the form of six actionable ideas that advisors can use with their clients:

  • Choose a meaningful title
  • Create a preamble
  • Include letters of wishes to beneficiaries and trustees
  • Distribution committees
  • Education
  • Read Trustworthy

[37:09] Ruth summarises the key elements Hartley shares during this interview and asks Hartley to share some reading suggestions.

[42:33] Ruth thanks Hartley for his time and experience and invites listeners to subscribe and tune in for the next episode.


Mentioned in this episode

Let’s Talk Family Enterprise podcast is brought to you by Family Enterprise Xchange

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

Book: TrustWorthy: New Angles on Trusts From Beneficiaries and Trustees, by Hartley Goldstone and Kathy Wiseman


Hartley’s author suggestions:

James E. Hughes Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Emmons

Heidi Grant Halvorson

Dr. Dan J. Siegel


More about Family Enterprise Xchange

Family Enterprise Xchange

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FEX on LinkedIn

FEX on YouTube


More about our guest

Hartley Goldstone’s website


Tweetables (edited)

“The trustscape consists of everybody touched by a given trust from the creators, trustee beneficiaries to the advisors.” — Hartley Goldstone

“Trusts have focused on relationships from the very outset, from the time they originated in England in the middle ages.” — Hartley Goldstone

“Trusts solve problems and create relationships.” — Ruth Steverlynck

“People think that trusts are legal structures that happen to involve human beings, but actually trusts are human relationships that happen to sit within a legal structure.” — Hartley Goldstone quoted by Ruth Steverlynck