Trustscape LLC

Positive Story Project

The goal is to make new stories widely available...


The Positive Story Project

Early this decade, we began to collect and post real-life “positive” stories told by beneficiaries, trustees and advisors. These first-person stories illuminated the beneficiary/trustee experience at its best. 

  • strengths of the beneficiary, the trustee or their relationship;
  • beneficiaries and trustees having successfully worked through challenges; 
  • beneficiary/trustee relationship that’s enhanced a beneficiary’s life. 

It’s an exciting project that uses “positive” not to promote the wearing of rose-colored glasses – but because how the stories deepen our understanding of the circumstances that underlie flourishing beneficiary/trustee relationships. 

In 2012, TrustWorthy, a collection of 25 of the stories, was published. Each story had something to teach.  Each story revealed its own wisdom. And the storytellers inspired our readers.

Now, with the release of Family Trusts – A Guide (Wiley/Bloomberg Press 2016), the Positive Story Project is revving up once again. 

The goal is to make new stories widely available so that we, along with our readers, may continue to identify best practices and develop practical applications.  

The process is respectful of storytellers at each and every stage. Storytellers control final edits of their stories to ensure that the story is told the way they’d like, and that the confidentiality of the storyteller and of persons mentioned in the story is adequately preserved. 

In the rare instance that a storyteller has second thoughts (this has only happened once), at their request the story will be quashed – never seeing the light of day. 

Do you have a story – or know someone who has a story – to contribute? If so, I’d love to hear from you. And, naturally, I’ll respect the confidentiality of all inquiries.

New stories will be posted from time to time on the blog found elsewhere on this website.

"This is the one book to read this year if you are creating your estate plan, if you are a trustee or a beneficiary, or if you advise families of wealth. You will not think about trusts in the same way again." —Charles W. Collier, Former Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Harvard University.

"Hartley and Kathy show how to harness the power of simple stories to achieve elegant, trustworthy results. This is important reading for all families of wealth." —Dirk Junge, Chairman and CEO of Pitcairn.

"As the old farmer said, 'You sure know how to get the hay on the ground where the calves can get at it.'" —A senior family member, trustee, and self-described curmudgeon.