About The Family Trust Institute

Our Mission...

FTI-LOGO-06092017The Family Trust Institute (FTI) is a business built to facilitate Congress’s intent to:

  • Encourage commercial transactions and maximize property applications for highest use
  • Strengthen families
  • Manage and protect income-producing assets in ways that reduce tax burdens and increase cash flow

We can help you manage your investment properties and, when needed, resell those properties to impact:

  • Taxes and profits
  • Leverage
  • Diversification
  • Opportunity cost and potential
  • Balance sheets
  • Retirement security
  • Family well-being
  • Legacy
  • Asset Protection

Our Passion...

is to help individuals and families fulfill their potential. We strive to make a difference for families who choose to integrate best legal and heritage practices.

We represent a successful alternative to undesirable outcomes after you are gone: family fights, wasted community potential, hard feelings and the terrible waste of unprepared heirs. These are the rule rather than the exception....and this is unacceptable to us. We are not money managers or insurance people. We are attorneys with decades of focused estate-planning experience working with other lawyers, solicitors and professionals.

Our passion is to provide a global platform to strengthen families and cooperating advisors.

Our legacy is to strengthen your potential and your family's human capital leverage for the benefit of future generations. We argue that our enemies and yours are the stale way of doing things, the success of litigators, news people and others who prey on the tragedies that too frequently follow family and individual heir failures.

For us, whatever we can do to leverage your capacity individually and as family, we will be doing. Don't let your parents or grandparents pass before we help you capture and protect their love and lessons.

We help you adopt heritage practices that enhance the blessing of your life’s work to family well-being for generations to come.

Our Founder...

James W. Smyth, MBA, JD

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Jim Smyth, founder of The Family Trust Institute, is a 1979 graduate of the University of Notre Dame's Law School and Graduate School of Business. He served as the associate editor of the Notre Dame Law Review.

Following his academic career, Jim spent 14 years honing his skills, initially focusing on taxes for Coopers & Lybrand, P.C. and then as an independent corporate acquisition specialist and business consultant.
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Family Legacy Influences Direction

In 1995, Jim opened his own law practice with a focus on income and estate tax coordination and sophisticated planning.

Born into a family of significant wealth, Jim has seen the good and bad effect that wealth can have on heirs and communities. His “G3” perspective is valued by wealth-builders and their families.

Beginning in 2000, Jim experienced the tragedy of seeing his own family destroyed by bitterness after the death of his grandmother. This event transformed his approach and led to his expertise, process and tools in facilitating harmony between wealth and purpose.
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Personal, Professional & Community Commitment

Jim is a member of both the Indiana Bar and Michigan Bar Associations. He has enjoyed membership in numerous charitable and professional organizations, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery and Duke University Catholic Center.
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Enhance Preparedness — Facilitate Communication — Ease Transitions

With strong Christian and family values as a foundation, Jim Smyth helps clients broaden their perspectives and multiply their human and financial potential through comprehensive income and estate planning strategies.

Jim and the Family Trust Institute assist families, family businesses and trustee-beneficiary relationships that are in trouble or, without agreement, may be headed for trouble. Our Legacy Lifeboat process combines years of unique experience and tools to:

  • Enhance family harmony, family preparedness for change and heir preparedness;
  • Facilitate sustainable communication skills and practices, adjustment to change, difficult conversations, family agreement and alignment, heir responsibility and growth; and…
  • Ease business, family and estate transitions

Jim combines strategic knowledge and nationwide alliances to provide unique business and personal planning solutions. Advanced tax alternatives and creditor protection are key components of his services.

Learn more: Our Difference From Traditional Estate Planning

Our Value to You

The Family Trust Institute brings value in several ways to those we serve. As global estate planning advisers, the information, training, consultation, products and services we offer provide several types of estate planning and administrative assistance:

  • Save you money
  • Keep you in control of your advisory team
  • Asset protection
  • Family strength
  • Heir readiness
  • Your definition of estate planning
  • Better understanding of your legacy, priorities, family, true wealth
  • Personal advice
  • Unique experiences
  • Connections, tools, and resources

Our Value to You...

The Family Trust Institute brings value in several ways to those we serve. As global estate planning advisers, the information, training, consultation, products and services we offer provide several types of estate planning and administrative assistance:

  • Save you money
  • Keep you in control of your advisory team
  • Asset protection
  • Family strength
  • Heir readiness
  • Your definition of estate planning
  • Better understanding of your legacy, priorities, family, true wealth
  • Personal advice
  • Unique experiences
  • Connections, tools, and resources

Want More Information?

Have questions about our services? Want to learn more about how to build and maintain your wealth, protect your family's legacy for future generations, and reduce your estate and capital gains taxes?

Then call The Family Trust Institute at (317) 843-5566. You'll be glad you did!