#Future50NW: Using Trusts to Transform the Future

LNWM | #Future50NW | Trusts & Estates | October 16, 2017

Having an impact on the future takes time and vision, which is one of the reasons we started #Future50NW, a community-wide conversation on the ideas, institutions and individuals that will shape our region between now and 2067.

Many responses we’ve received so far – affordable housing, technology creating access to opportunity for more people, making Seattle a leading 21st century city – have arisen as our region finds itself at a turning point of substantial transformation.

In 2017, Laird Norton Wealth Management’s 50th year in business, looking ahead to the next half century also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the decisions that shaped our first 50 years.

What is now Laird Norton Wealth Management started out in 1967, but in reality it began well before than that. More than 10 years earlier, associates of the Laird Norton Company began examining the opportunities presented by a more positive and proactive investment program, leading initially to the creation of a New Investments Committee and, ultimately, to the decision to start Laird Norton Trust Company, one of the family’s most iconic symbols and successful business ventures.

While originally formed to steward the futures of the Laird and Norton families, it wasn’t long before Laird Norton Trust Company began taking on non-family members as clients, recognizing the importance of trusts as a critical component of comprehensive wealth management. While our firm has changed and expanded over the years, trust services (administration and management) remain a core part of our business. In fact, we oversee more than $3 billion in trust assets, and we’re proud to have worked with hundreds of individuals, families and foundations to manage trusts in a way that carries out their intent to the fullest possible extent.

The Power of Trusts

Over time, we have seen that trusts, in and of themselves, have tremendous power. Many of our clients use trusts to shape the future both of their personal and family finances and of the issues and causes they care about the most. A trust that creates financial stability for a spouse during his/her lifetime can go on to support the Pacific Northwest’s arts organizations, for example, and this helps to support a thriving community of culture for generations to come.

The idea to start Laird Norton Trust Company was a deliberate one that did more than shape the next 50 years for our company. It also benefited the hundreds of individuals, families and foundations we’re fortunate to have as clients today.

Creating and directing a trust to have the impact you want is also a deliberate process. Defining the purpose of the trust, appointing a trustee to manage the assets, and making smart investment decisions to ensure there is enough capital to accomplish what was intended all take work and careful planning.

But, if we’re talking about the ideas, institutions and individuals that can shape the next 50 years, the work put in now can yield tremendous outcomes down the road. The idea could be a trust. The institution could be the cause or issue it’s intended to support. And the individual could be you!