Estate planning may not seem like a passionate thing; but if you really feel that way, you probably haven’t met Amber Young.
By day, her role is Senior Trust Officer with First Horizon Advisors, with a focus on providing professional investment, personal trust and estate management.
When the sun goes down, however, Young becomes a pacing, no-need-for-a-microphone proponent of women looking out for themselves and indulging in the ultimate act of self care: pre-planning.
She was the featured speaker at the spring “Health, Wealth & Humor” event hosted by First Horizon Bank and First Horizon Advisors at Mossback Distillery in Jefferson City. She was there in part to provide information and in part to explain herself.
“I’m here to tell you why I’m so passionate about the role that we play at First Horizon with helping you roadmap your life out. I’ve been with the company for 17 years. I opened up my first CD with my grandpa when I was three. I wanted to be in banking,” Young said.
When she was 21, Young’s dad went out riding on his motorcycle and never came home. They actually passed each other on the road prior to the accident, she said.
“He was 43. It’s still hard to talk about, even after all these years,” Young said.
Her mother had stopped working to care for her brother. Her dad did not have a will. It was filed in the “it can wait” category.
“Talking about end of life stuff is not super exciting but at the same time it’s beautiful, because if you plan things now for those you love, you can leave that legacy, you can take care of those people,” she said.
“My brother is special needs. I’ve cared for him for a very long time. If I get hit by the milk truck when I leave here, I am very thankful in knowing that I have a trust set up for him; it will provide a home for him, it will take care of his bills, it will provide his medication that disability doesn’t cover. That’s the beauty in planning – it’s not the easiest thing to talk about, but if you do it now, you have that piece of mind knowing that the people you love and care about will be taken care of down the road.
“We help facilitate that roadmap. We work with you and the advisor, the planner, the attorney, the CPA. Everybody’s stuff is very different. When you’re hurting and a loved one has passed, it is so helpful to have a will in place.”
According to Young the bank can act as a co-executor with family members or the surviving spouse.
“We do all the work, we do all the stuff on the checklist – you are involved but you get time to grieve and you’re not expected to know how to do the taxes or how to pay for all the expenses. We act in that capacity to assist you through that journey.”
The intriguing component of the spring edition of the Health, Wealth & Humor gathering (there is also a fall edition), is the tremendous amount of information sharing that goes on.
Young was up for it on her end. As she walked through the speakeasy room at Mossback, where women had seated themselves on the stylish upholstered furniture pieces - after making quick work of the buffet provided by Jersey Girl Catering - she issued bullet points with an approachable, conversational style.
The difference between a will and a trust, for example, is a privacy issue.
“A will is public. A trust is not public; it avoids probate (a process that can take years). And you may need to pay taxes, etc. You need to review your will on a regular basis,” Young said.
Attorneys are vital in these situations, one who specializes in estate planning. The cost for an attorney, on average according to Young, if you need a 1) durable power of attorney, 2) healthcare power of attorney, 3) a living will 4) advance directive, 5) a will and 6) trust is anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500. A review of your needs by an attorney is usually complimentary.
“If you set up your trust today, you can be as strict or as flexible as you want. Some trusts say “give Johnny $500 per month and that’s all he gets” others might say “you only pay for his education and nothing else” Some say “pay his education, health, maintenance, income, principal.” Some trusts are set up because people have disabilities, or drugs or alcohol issues,” Young said.
A question from the audience: What is the downside of appointing one sibling as the executor?
“They’re going to fight immediately,” Young said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the individual to manage an estate. The bank can be named as sole executor and trustee.
Do you have to put everything you have into a trust?
“No. Folks will put their house or properties into a trust and their checking and savings payable to the trust,” Young said.
“Even if you have a trust, you still have to have a will,” Young said “If you want to leave a legacy and have some continuity, a trust is the route to go. If you’re a private person and you want to avoid probate and you may have some estate tax issues, trust is the way to go. If you are in a second marriage and have a blended family, if you have a special needs child, or if you are in a profession where you are at risk to be sued, trust is the way to go.”
“If you have a million in trust and we manage it and it continues to grow over the next 10 years. Because that money is invested and we’re following your document, we’re going to pay out whatever it tells us to but the trust is going to continue to grow after you’re deceased. I manage a trust right now that is still in effect from the ‘40s. It has five beneficiaries that we pay money to quarterly. And there are still millions in it. The bank charges a flat fee to manage it, depending on the dollar amount. We’ll do the taxes, manage the real estate, and manage the investments. The fee is based on the market value, not how much the trust officer does or how the funds are invested.
“Our folks are actually not allowed to take a commission. It’s against our fiduciary policy. So if its $1 million and we’re paying 1 percent, then that’s your fee,” Young said.
Julie Rex, Vice President, Community Banking of First Horizon Bank, serves on the Health, Wealth & Humor committee along with Young, and community members Rosemary Wigington, Kenny Zitt, and Cookie Larkin. The committee plans two events for local women each year: the spring event that is more informational and the fall event which is designed to be more of a networking, or social, event.
“One of the advantages of having an executor trust is the emotional side of it. The trust officer is emotionless with regard to making decisions that go along with the trust instructions,” Rex said. “The bank can be the ‘bad guy’ when it comes to dealing with uncooperative or unhappy family members.”
The difference between an irrevocable trust and revocable trust was explained.
“If you have a trust set up while you’re alive, it become irrevocable when you die. An irrevocable trust set up while the person is still alive usually has to do with tax situations,” Young said.
Once the paperwork is prepared, how often should it be reviewed?
“Every three years, unless there is a life event (birth of a grandchild or death), because tax codes are changing so rapidly,” Young said.
Wigington, who retired as the president of First Horizon Bank (when it was First Tennessee Bank) several years ago, spoke about how the world has changed for professional women and why the Health, Wealth & Humor events are critical. She was raised in Selma, Alabama.
“I was a banker for 44 years, and for 27 of those years being with First Tennessee,” she said.
“When I started in banking, I started as a clerk in the international department and I wanted to be a commercial lender. I had others say to me, ‘You could never be that; those commercial lenders – that’s reserved for those white men down there.’ I was on a mission to prove them wrong, and I did. It took me a few years.
“When I came to First Tennessee and began 27 years as a commercial lender and much more, it’s a date that I will never regret. We’ve come a long way as far as women in the world, and the bank has certainly recognized that women control a tremendous amount of wealth in the world. And through that recognition, this initiative was created. What we want to do through this, is regardless of whether you are single, or married or divorced, or a widow or have earned it through your own hard knocks, we have the best financial and trust advisors.”
For more information about Health, Wealth & Humor events, contact Julie Rex at her office: 423-254-6210 or by email; firstname.lastname@example.org.