As your members’ wealth grows throughout their lifetime and they become more financially savvy, it takes sophisticated products and services to meet their expanding needs. Offering personal trust services as part of a comprehensive investment management program at your credit union is an essential method of meeting this increasing market demand. In fact, according to some estimates, more than $10 trillion of wealth will change hands in coming decades. If your credit union isn’t offering investment management with trust services, you will fail to benefit from the largest wealth transfer in U.S. history. More members than ever before are creating personal trusts to help them work toward their financial goals. While estate tax savings can be a significant benefit of personal trusts, people create trusts to simply their finances, or as part of control, protection, privacy or gifting strategies. Trusts offer members the opportunity to give instructions to trustees about how the trust is to function, who is to benefit, who will receive income from the trust and, ultimately, who will receive the remaining assets at some future date. A trust forms the foundation for a comprehensive financial and estate plan – and the basis of a lifetime financial partnership with your members. Once the domain almost exclusively of banks and their trust departments, the changing demographics of members has made offering trust services an absolute imperative for credit unions with full-service investment management programs. With the great transfer of wealth already underway, no doubt more and more credit unions will seek solutions. For most credit unions and their respective credit union service organizations, or CUSOs, however, creating a trust services offering on an individual basis is a time-consuming and capital-intensive process. The costs of hiring the talent and expertise, creating the systems infrastructure and controlling the risk can be prohibitive. Instead, credit unions should make an effort to partner with a provider that has the expertise and structure already in place, and outsource the administration of the trust to knowledgeable professionals who have the wherewithal to meet their members’ needs. More and more credit unions are discovering that a partnership of this sort can more readily increase the value proposition of their investment management program without the significant start-up costs and lead-time to market other trust administration options represent. As the link between the investment management programs of nine affiliated credit unions in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia and the nearly 200,000 members they serve, UniTrust Financial Services, LLC, has recently availed itself of such an opportunity. UniTrust is a CUSO formed for the purpose of providing marketing and management support to credit unions that offer investment management and insurance services through Financial Network, one of the largest independent broker-dealers in the country and a member of the ING Group. By way of the CUSO’s relationship with the Bergeland Region of Financial Network and a subsidiary of the ING Group, ING National Trust, a nationally chartered trust company, UniTrust supports affiliated credit unions’ trust services on an integrated and collaborative basis. The ING National Trust staff, consisting of experienced trust officers and investment professionals, work with the Financial Network registered representatives assigned to affiliated credit unions as a turnkey resource to assist members in implementing the estate plan that is right for them. ING National Trust can serve members of the CUSO’s affiliated credit unions in all 50 states as trustee, co-trustee, successor trustee or agent for trustee, and the Company partners with a member’s other professional advisors – attorneys, accountants and the Financial Network registered representatives – to provide the fiduciary services that the situation requires. There are a variety of similar options credit unions can deploy to provide for the administration of trust assets as part of a comprehensive investment management program. Making the costly mistake of ignoring the growing demand for these services, however, should not be among the choices. Trust services can offer significant advantages in the quest to accomplish financial and estate-planning goals by members of all ages and at different stages of wealth management. If credit unions are to effectively provide for the financial security for their members, today and in the years to come, trust services are an essential component.