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Purposeful Planning

Every Trust should be an act of LOVE (generosity and enhancement), FAITH (a generative belief in the beneficiaries Growth Potential) and HOPE (outlining your vision for the opportunities a Trust will create for the future well-being and joy of the beneficiaries)" 

John A. Warnick,  Founder Purposeful Planning Institute

What is "Purposeful Planning and Why is it so important?  

To each of my Nephews, Williams Augustine Washington, George Lewis, Geroge Stetoe Washington, Bushrod Washington and Samuel Washington, I give one of the Swords or Cutteaux of which I may die possessed; and they are to chuse in the order thay are named.  - These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheathe them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be fore self-defense, or in defense of their Country and its rights, and in the latter case, to keep them unsheatherd, an prefer falling with thiem in their hands, to the relinqishment thereof" 

"Protect those you love TM" is the foundational premise of the work that we do at Treveri Law.  As parents, it is instinctual that we will create safety nets for our children.  We tell them every day that you love them, but after you are gone, will they still hear your voice?  

One of the foremost historical figures in history is Julius Caesar.  He was a fantastic orator, leader and brilliant military man and although he had come from wealth, he connected with the "Common people".  In his will, not only did he give his power to his nephew, Augustus Octavian (not Marc Antony), but he also directed that every Roman citizen receive 300 Roman sesterces, which amounted to a gift of around 150 million silver coins to his subjects. In addition, the extensive and beautiful gardens of Trastevere were transferred to the public domain and are still used today.  In giving this vast charitable gift, Caesar was expressing his love for the citizens of Rome.  

Similarly, General George Washington made a gift in his Will he stated: 

A trust that speaks to the beneficiaries in the first person, capturing the voice of the Trust Creator resonates more powerfully with the beneficiaries.

"It is amazing how simple statements in Purposeful Trusts TM which captures a parent's or grandparent's love, faith and hope for an in the beneficiary create a genuine emotional attachment to the document and transforms it from the beneficiary's perspective  - out of sterility"   JA Warnick

"Trusts are created every day.  Some trust are merely transfers of financial assets.  Trsuts designed and drafted to be restrictive and controlling are grounded in negativity.  To be a Generative Trust TM, that trust should flow from positive emotional energy that reflects the love of the Trust creator and their hopes for postive impact this gift will be in the lives of the beneficiaries. "  John A. Warnick "why a Generative Trust" Exercise PPI. 


Psychological research has demonstrated that a child's awareness of the positive emotions their parent had at the time of giving a gift has profound influence on the child's ability to feel deep gratitude for that gift.   These affirming and rich reflections might include: 

  •  Reflections on the day you were born

  • How we chose your name and what it meant to us

  • Memories of trips or vacations when we created priceless memories

  • Things I have always admired about you

  • Special talents or gifts I feel you have been given and the great potential I have seen in you

  • Really difficult challenges I have seen you overcome and How I felt about your effort

  • Things you said or did for me which really made me feel special or loved

  • How I felt when you reached and passed certain milestones in your life such as high school or college graduation, your first job

  • Favorite Quotes or life lessons I think may be important to you or your children in the future

  • Things you never heard me talk about which made life special or were particularly challenging or difficult 

When a trust document is the traditional, sterile and complex legal instrument, bereft of any positive emotion which the grantor may have felt.  It often makes the beneficiary with the impression that the Trust creator didnt trust them, felt they were incompetent or imbeciles who needed protection... the purposeful approach is to create a healthier, more positive relationship between trustee and beneficiary as well as empowering the beneficiary to attain his or her full potential while gifting the beneficiary with life affirming statements of love and wisdom, and hopes and dreams for positive opportunities and influence a trust would have on the beneficiary's life.  

Creation of a "Trust Compass" which are the core values, virtues and principles which grantors consider timeless and which they hope will serve as a beacon to insure the trust will be a positive force in the lives of the beneficiairies, no matter what difficult and unforeseeable challenges they may face.  

I consider myself to be a purposeful estate planner. By “purposeful,” I mean that I consider the client’s total life picture and employ traditional and holistic means to achieve a “good estate-planning result.” By “good estate-planning result,” I mean a plan that achieves the client’s goals, reflects the client’s values and nurtures or at least doesn’t harm the relationships of those who survive the client. Notice that there’s no mention of tax elimination or minimization in that definition. Some clients’ goals conflict with tax minimization; that’s just a fact. Here are some of my core beliefs.

Fair isn’t always equal; equal isn’t always fair. Many clients slavishly adhere to the principle of treating children equally. Often, it’s the children who remind and pressure clients about this; I call this the “what about me?” syndrome. The purposeful estate planner will point out to clients that leaving estates equally to children isn’t always a fair result, particularly if one child is needier than other children or when the client helped one child far more during lifetime than the other children.

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