Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions List

Future ATG Trust Client Questions

What is ATG Trust Company?

ATG Trust is an independent trust company established in 1998 with a mission to provide flexible, collaborative and service-oriented trust and estate administration to attorneys and their clients. We offer creative solutions, are dedicated to personal service and work as a team to ensure each client’s estate plan is carried out in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

Our services include: personal trusts, estate administration, special needs trusts, guardianships, directed trusts, charitable remainder trusts, IRA's, irrevocable life insurance trusts, Qualified Intermediary for tax deferred exchanges and land trusts.

We are located in Chicago, Illinois. Please contact us with any questions.

When should I use a professional trustee?

In some situations, such as where your trust calls for an outright, immediate distribution to the beneficiaries, you may not need a professional trustee. However, there are many instances where you should consider naming a professional trustee.

  • Any Long Term Trust
    If your trust will go on for any period of time, you should consider a professional trustee. An ongoing trust requires a high degree of investment and tax expertise. More importantly, the exercise of discretion, meaning knowing when and how to distribute funds to or for a beneficiary, is crucial to preserving the intent and value of the trust. A professional trustee will have that ability.
  • Behavior Incentives and Disincentives
    Your trust may have certain behavior incentives. These might include not rewarding substance abuse, rewarding gainful employment, or rewarding educational achievements. An impartial, professional trustee best fulfills monitoring and acting on your wishes.
  • Asset Protection and Preservation
    A professional trustee has a duty to protect and preserve the trust assets. A trust is not an investment account and should not be treated as one. Investing as a trustee requires skill, care, and diligence that go beyond the role of an investment adviser or broker. The trustee is accountable not only for investment performance but also for the appropriateness of the overall investment plan in order to achieve the purpose of the trust and its beneficiaries.
  • Beneficiary Diversity
    People move, lives change, needs evolve, and time moves on. A professional trustee is equipped to understand and adapt to those changes. Your trust may have a beneficiary who is seeking current income and another who will be expecting funds in the future. Balancing and managing those competing interests is a job for an experienced trustee with the skills and resources to not only achieve those diverse goals but also to explain the process to all affected by it.
  • Investment Management
    Investing is a job for professionals. You may have an excellent investment plan already in place. All investment plans need a strong hand to guide them through the constantly shifting world around us. A professional trustee can work with your current adviser or take the responsibility directly as your trust may state.
Why do I need an attorney?

An attorney is a key component of a complete trust plan. Attorneys are licensed by the state and have to pass rigorous tests to earn that privilege. An attorney who specializes in estate planning is an invaluable asset to your estate plan. They will be informed of the nuances of estate planning law and how the law affects you. An attorney can become a trusted advisor who will guide you through the complicated planning process.

My family doesn’t live in the Chicago area. Can we still use ATG Trust Company?

Absolutely.  We are available by email, phone and can arrange a meeting in person. Our clients are located in many different states and even overseas. ATG Trust will work with the client to determine the best communication methods.

How does investing work with ATG Trust Company?

At ATG Trust, we believe the asset allocation mix is the most important aspect of an investment portfolio. When determining the appropriate asset allocation we ensure we fully understand our clients’ ability to tolerate the ups and downs of the market and what their income needs are now and what they are projected to be in the future.  Once an allocation has been established, we build out the portfolio with non-proprietary mutual funds and ETFs and when appropriate, individual stocks and bonds. We then employ a diligent oversite process to review and monitor the portfolios and their holdings which is discussed with each client and is outlined in our Investment Policy Statements. 

If you would like to discuss our investment philosophy or its implementation in greater detail, please feel free to contact us.

Who will I talk to when I call ATG Trust Company?

Each relationship is supported by a team of trust professionals with one person designated as your contact. You will never have to call a 1-800 number. 

What about fees?

Our fees are based on our published fee schedules which are determined by market value calculation, the size of the account and type of service provided. Our fee schedules are available upon request.

Email to request an updated fee schedule.

Are there minimum account sizes?

ATG Trust does not have minimum account sizes for its various services. However, minimum fees do apply. Therefore, we evaluate each account individually to determine the cost effective value of the service we provide.

Email us to request a fee schedule.


Can ATG Trust work with an outside, third-party financial adviser?

Yes, we can work with third party advisors as long as the trust incorporates the language of the Illinois directed trust statute.

Here is a more detailed discussion about Directed Trusts. If you are interested in learning more or would like to make a change in your estate plan, contact your attorney.  

Does ATG Trust Company act as Power of Attorney for Property?

We will act as Power of Attorney for Property if we are also serving as Trustee within an estate plan that includes a pour over will. The account would be charged a fee based upon the published fee schedule and may take an hourly fee for anything we had to do under the POA. 

ATG Trust does not serve as POA for an individual if we are not also serving in another capacity. 

Please contact us for more information.

Will ATG Trust Company act as Co-Trustee?

Yes, we will act as co-trustee. Co-trustee is the term used when more than one individual or corporation is named to serve as a trustee of a trust. Unless otherwise specified in the trust, co-trustees normally act together and exercise their powers jointly. Co-trustees share the same powers and fiduciary responsibilities according to the trust document and laws of the state in which the trust resides.


Current Clients

I’m a beneficiary of a personal trust. What should I do?

If you are satisfied that your trustee is doing a good job, then enjoy the knowledge that someone cared enough to consider your financial well-being. If you have concerns or are unsure about what is being done for you, contact us for a confidential discussion or review. There is no obligation and we keep information private at all times.

What happens when ATG Trust is called upon to act?

We use a “PPP” approach. First, we determine if there are people, property, or pets that need immediate care. Once we have accepted office as trustee, a trust administrator will work with your attorney and family as needed to collect the trust assets, pay bills, make tax decisions, and complete all the other day-to-day activities necessary to protect, preserve, invest, and distribute the trust---all in strict accordance to the instructions you have given.

How long does it take to administer an estate?

The length of time to administer and close an estate varies depending on the complexity of the estate and how your estate plan is designed. There are also federal and state rules that govern the process.


Special Needs Trust Questions

What is the process for requesting funds from a special needs trust?

To request funds from a special needs trust, we ask for a Distribution Request Form and supporting documents. We give these requests priority as often these requests are to fill immediate needs. We will determine if your request meets the terms of the trust and if the trust is able to support your request. Your administrator will bring the results back to you. If your request is approved, payment may be provided directly to the provider of the goods or service you requested. In order to obtain a Distribution Request Form, please contact your trust administrator.

Why do I need approval to get money from my special needs trust?

State and federal rules are in place to preserve the integrity of special needs trusts; these rules are complex and constantly evolving. Having a clear trail of what was requested and how funds were distributed is critical for compliance. 

How long does it take to get approval for a distribution?

Each request is individually reviewed by a trust administrator who will present it to a peer group for approval. The distribution review process generally takes at least 3 to 5 days. Our goal is to help within the guidelines of the law and the terms of the trust. For more information, contact your Trust Administrator. If you are unsure of who to contact about your special needs trust, contact us.


Land Trust Questions

What is a land trust?

A land trust allows real estate to be held in a special account that allows for privacy, control, and succession of ownership to future generations in a secure and non-public way. 

What are the benefits of a land trust?

Both residential and commercial real estate can benefit from a land trust as a part of an overall estate plan or business plan. With limited exceptions, a land trust provides privacy and can segregate real estate from other holdings both for lending and other purposes. Coupled with a complete estate plan, a land trust can protect the owner from the costs and formalities of a court supervised transition to next generations (probate) and be a mechanism to separate real estate from other assets for a diverse set of planning and distribution purposes. Your attorney can best advise you if a land trust is right for you.

Why do I have to pay an annual fee?

The annual fee is charged much like a safety deposit box. Even if you do not make any changes to your land trust, you always have the protection of having your property in a land trust.

How can I hold beneficial interest?

Single – 100% interest; Various individuals having percentage interest, totaling 100%; as Trustee of a Living Trust; Joint Tenants; Multiple Owners; Tenants by the Entirety; Corporation; Partnership; LLC (Limited Liability Company).

How can I keep my name off of the public tax bill records?

To keep your ownership private, direct your tax bills to the land trust. To accomplish this, contact your county assessor to obtain the form to change the tax assessment (taxpayer) and indicate that future tax bills be sent to ATG Trust Company with your name and account number. We will forward the tax bill to you and your name will stay out of the public tax records.

How do I take my property out of my land trust?

A Direction to Convey must be completed and signed by all people holding Power of Direction and any Collateral holders, if applicable. A Trustee’s Deed will be prepared based on your direction. You or your attorney must record the Trustee's Deed with the county. In order to obtain these forms, please contact your attorney to discuss this change in your estate plan.

What is the fee for removing my property from my land trust?

Please call our Land Trust Department for the current fees. The direct number is 312.752.1112.


1031 Exchange Questions

Can the Exchangor sell more than one Relinquished Property?

Yes. There is no limit as to how many Relinquished Properties you can have within the same 1031 exchange.

Is there any limit to the number of properties that can be identified?

Section 1031 regulations allow the Taxpayer to choose a Replacement Property by using any of the following rules. If you have any questions regarding these rules, we suggest contacting your attorney. 

Three-Property Rule
Up to three Replacement Properties may be identified without regard to their fair market value.

200% Rule
More than three Replacement Properties may be identified; however, the total value of those properties identified may not exceed 200% of the value of the Relinquished Property.

95% Rule
More than three Replacement Properties may be identified; however, the Exchangor must acquire at least 95% of the value of all properties identified. This is the least common identification rule used.

When can the Exchangor receive any unused proceeds?

The Exchangor can receive any unused 1031 exchange proceeds at any time after the 45 calendar day identification period expires and he/she has either (1) not identified any replacement properties; or (2) he/she has acquired all of the identified properties. If the Exchangor has not acquired all of the identified replacement properties, then the unused proceeds cannot be released until the 181st day after the closing of the relinquished property.