Continuing Legal Education

TELESEMINAR: Discretionary Distributions: A Practical Guide to Planning, Drafting and Administering – A National Perspective

November 27, 2012
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1.00 MCLE hours


One of the difficult decisions in a trust is when to make a discretionary distribution.  It is difficult for the settlor of the trust to confer that (often broad) discretion on a fiduciary.  It’s difficult for a trustee because the standards established by law or by trust documents are often vague and that vagueness leads to substantial tension with beneficiaries who want more.  It’s difficult for the planner and draftsman because the client often has an uncertain sense of what the standards for distributions should be in the first instance and client’s decision may shift over time over time.  All of these difficulties combine to make discretionary distributions a source of contention and potentially litigation and liability.  This program will provide you with a real-world guide to establishing and drafting distribution standards, and provide you tips on administration and how to avoid disputes with and among beneficiaries. 


  • Practical guide to discretionary distributions in trusts – establishing standards and making judgments for planners, draftsmen and fiduciaries
  • Interpreting trust documents to discern objective, measurable standards for discretionary distributions
  • Statutory and common law framework for discretionary distributions
  • Understanding “HEM” – health, education and maintenance – standards and how they operate in practice
  • How discretionary distributions are treated by corporate v. individual trustees
  • Balancing the tension between income beneficiaries and beneficiaries with remainder interests

Program Speaker:
Jeremiah W. Doyle, IV
, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Boston

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Jeremiah W. Doyle, IV is senior vice president in the Boston office of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, where he provides integrated wealth management advice to high net worth individuals on holding, managing and transferring wealth in a tax-efficient manner.  He is the editor and co-author of “Preparing Fiduciary Income Tax Returns,” a contributing author of Preparing Estate Tax Returns, and a contributing author of “Understanding and Using Trusts,” all published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Doyle received his B.S. from Providence College, his J.D. form Hamline University Law School, and his LL.M. in banking from Boston University Law School.