In the last five years, trust protectors have become a growing trend in elder law. A trust protector is a designated authority over a trust; they are responsible for ensuring that the trust will be executed as intended. They have been used for many years – mostly only by those with wealthier estates – but they have become much more common in recent years. A great advantage of appointing a trust protector is that they can help allow for any life changes that would occur in case of incapacitation. Having a trust protector makes the trust much easier to change in case of changes in the law or in your personal situation.
If you decide to appoint a trust protector, you should meet with an elder law attorney to set it up within your trust document. You also must also include the powers given to the trust protector.
You may appoint the following powers to your trust protector:
– The power to make changes in the trust in case of changes in the law
– The power to remove a trustee who is not acting according to the rules of the trust
– The power to remove a trustee who refuses their job as a trustee
– The power to settle any disbutes between tht trustee and any trust beneficiary
– The power to make changes to the distribution of the trust in case of changes in a beneficiary’s life
If you decide that a trust protector is a right choice for your trust, you must work with an elder lawyer to ensure that the powers entrusted are spelled out and clear. An elder law attorney can also advise you on the correct balance of powers that are appropriate.
You can choose anyone to be your trust protector, but it isn’t recommended that you appoint a family member or a beneficiary. It also is not recommended to appoint yourself. Most protectors are independent, unbiased parties such as your lawyer or your accountant. There are also trust companies that can act as your trust protector.
Attorney Adam Tobin, an experienced Living Trust Attorney can discern whether a trust protector is advisable for your personal situation. Read about the different types of trusts or contact us to arrange a free consultation with Living Trust Attorney Adam J. Tobin.