Blind trusts may not be feasible for President-elect

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2016 | Firm News, trusts

Most North Carolina residents can maintain investment portfolios without encountering any concerns over conflicts of interest. However, when a person is elected to public office, conflicts of interest are a major concern. To avoid them, many presidents and presidential candidates have tried to keep uncomplicated investment portfolios while using blind trusts to hold assets that could potentially create a conflict of interest.

President-elect Donald Trump has the highest net worth of any president in U.S. history, and his most recent Federal Election Commission filing showed that he owns about 500 different companies. Totally avoiding perceived conflicts of interest will likely to be a challenge for the Trump administration, especially because the President-elect has business interests in several foreign countries.

Michael Cohen, who has long worked as an attorney for Donald Trump, told CNN that Trump plans to transfer his assets into a blind trust that will be managed by his three eldest children. However, some legal observers have argued that the wealth transfer Trump has proposed is not actually a blind trust. According to a former deputy white house Counsel for President Obama, a trust is only ‘blind” if the owner’s assets are first turned into cash and then managed by an uninterested third party.

Real or perceived conflicts of interest can be a problem for candidates in smaller local elections as well as presidential elections. This type of a trust requires detailed preparation, and people who are in this position may want to have the assistance of an attorney who has trust planning experience.