Accredited Beneficiary Stewardship Program
The Accredited Beneficiary Stewardship Program (ABS) is the first and only self-paced, online learning program and professional designation for beneficiaries. Through a highly tailored education experience, beneficiaries of trust assets may either audit or complete the program’s coursework. The comprehensive and rigorous fiduciary stewardship content builds a foundation of knowledge and enhances student’s understanding of the building blocks of wealth in the areas of estate planning, trusts, administration, investing, tax, fiduciary relationships and responsibilities, and more. Featuring engaging multi-media content – film, interviews, and articles -anonymized real-life cases, and applied learning techniques, students find the education experience to be interesting and engaging.
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Individual: 1 User
- Access to 10 Courses
- ABS Accreditation
- Unlimited Access
- Go At Your Own Pace
- Total Privacy
- Content Updated Regularly
- 1-Year Term
Group: 2-10 Users
- Perfect for Family Offices, Families, Siblings, Cousins or Peers
- Track Progress of Group
- Full Access to Courses
- ABS Accreditation
- Pace with Group or Individually
- Share Notes, Questions, & Thoughts
- Document Storage
- Content Updated Regularly
- Total Privacy
- 2-Year Term
- Access your courses anytime, anywhere, with a computer, tablet or smartphone
- Videos, quizzes and interactive content designed for a proven learning experience
- Unlimited access. Take your courses at your time and pace
- This program is designed to take 1-2 months with approximately 10-15 hours per week of study. If you put in more hours per week, you will finish sooner than the predicted 1-2 months
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Structure and Requirements
The Accredited Beneficiary Stewardship Designation is comprised of the following elements:
- Developed by industry experts
- Delivers high quality, engaging, and applied course content
- eLearning format, taken at your own pace, and applicable to all screens
- Essential topics in one learning program with learning checks
- All course requirements must be completed prior to sitting for the exam
- The exam is taken online and has 100 randomized questions
- A pre-test may be given to prepare for the exam
- 80% is required to pass the final exam that is administered online
3. Designation Completion
4. Continuing Education
- To maintain your designation, a renewal fee, membership dues, and continuing education is required each year. See fee structure in the course catalog
- Select from a broad range of subjects connected to the ABS designation to maintain your designation as well as to demonstrate your continued applied skills, knowledge, and understanding.
Audit versus Designation
There are two options to access the Accredited Beneficiary Stewardship Program (ABS).
Designation: enroll to go through the coursework, prepare for the final exam to obtain the official professional designation. The full coursework includes learning checks, exam preparation, access to the full suite of resources, updates to the learning curriculum and more. Coursework must be completed within one year and allows you to apply to sit for the exam within six months of completion of the coursework.
Audit: enroll to audit the coursework and be exposed the full comprehensive learning program for a limited period for a reduced price, however, not to complete the designation. Coursework does not include learning checks or exam preparation, nor does it allow you to apply to sit for the exam. Contact us for more information.
The Stewardship course introduces the concept of stewardship and the role that stewarding principles play in beneficiary’s lives. Students explore values in terms of how they relate to stewardship and being a beneficiary.
This course covers what it means to be the beneficiary of a trust or significant wealth, starting with the importance of a settlors’ goals, motivations, and intentions for passing along wealth. The content reviews the four “M’s” that inspire beneficiaries to be stewards of wealth – not just recipients – and how a beneficiary’s relationship to trustees changes from childhood to adulthood. After establishing the foundation of beneficial ownership, the course delves into a beneficiary’s duties and responsibilities. Finally, the course concepts are blended into an interactive case study that features settlors and beneficiaries’ perspectives.
Trustee Basics is a continuation of the learning established in Beneficiary Fundamentals and puts the learner in the shoes of a trustee. The course starts by establishing the main parties to a trust and defines the role of a trustee. The subsequent modules provide an overview of the responsibilities and duties of a trustee and reviews the beneficiary’s duties in the trust relationship. This course includes worksheets and resources that help an individual work through if they are ready to take on the responsibility and duty of becoming a trustee. Additionally, Trustee Basics covers institutional trustees, the purpose of a private trust company, and how to evaluate trustee candidates and monitor their performance over time.
Estate Planning Basics
Estate Planning Basics discusses both the financial and emotional aspects of estate planning and reviews the key documents that can be part of an estate planning strategy. The modules review the process and decision-making involved in setting up an estate plan, including evaluating the intent of the settlor and planning for fairness and equity over generations. This course highlights using wills and uses cases to demonstrate the importance of having a clearly defined will.
Trust Fundamentals dives deeply into trust structures, starting with the history of trusts to the role trusts play in complex estate plans. This course highlights living trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable/philanthropic trusts, dynasty trusts, and the role that trusts play when wills and power of attorney are present.
Foundations of Tax
Foundations of Tax includes three modules that cover the history and purpose of taxation, personal income taxes, the role of taxes in estate planning, and entity and charitable taxation. The course reviews taxes at the state and federal levels and features an estate freeze case study.
Personal Finance Fundamentals
Personal Finance Fundamentals covers the basics of practical financial skills starting with financial planning, risk management, and personal budgeting. The course moves on to corporate financial statements and builds up to analyzing key performance measures and ratios. This course also covers how to read core financial statements including a balance sheet, cashflow statement, and income statement. Finally, learners will apply knowledge through an in-depth case study that encourages critical thinking and problem-solving to make complex financial decisions.
Trust Administration Fundamentals
The Trust Administration course defines the role of trust administrators and reviews the ethical and fiduciary responsibilities that a trustee assumes. The coursework outlines four responsibilities to properly administering a trust and expands on the administrative functions that are required of a trustee, including monitoring trust investments and reporting. The course also highlights the role and responsibilities of the trust beneficiary.
Working with Advisors
Working with Advisors lays the groundwork for beneficiaries to have positive working relationships with advisors. The content reviews communication, hiring, compensation, and onboarding as well as transitioning to a new advisor or terminating an advisor relationship. The course ties relevant concepts into an animated case study that demonstrates the importance of working with advisors proactively.
Investing Fundamentals outlines asset types and classes and considers how a trust portfolio can be constructed to meet specific financial goals. The coursework delves into investment governance including the components of an investment policy statement and how to read and understand investment statements and assess performance. Finally, the course culminates in a case study that applies the lessons and concepts learned in this course as well as tying in estate planning, financial planning, and wealth transfer.