Trust protectors are commonly used in the United States. Essentially, a trust protector is someone who serves as an appointed authority over a trust that will be in effect for a long period of time. Trust protectors ensure that trustees maintain the integrity of the trust, make solid distribution and investment decisions, and adapt the trust to changes in law and circumstance.
Whenever changes occur, as they are bound to do, the trust protector has the power to modify the trust to carry out the trustmaker’s intent. Significantly, the trust protector has the power to act without going to court—a key benefit that saves time and money and honors family privacy.
Here Are 6 Ways a Trust Protector Can Help You
Your trust protector can take the following actions:
- Remove or replace a trustee who is not performing their duties appropriately or is no longer able or willing to serve
- Amend the trust to reflect changes in the law
- Resolve conflicts between beneficiaries and trustees or between multiple trustees
- Modify distributions from the trust in response to changes in beneficiaries’ lives such as premature death, divorce, drug addiction, disability, or lawsuits
- Allow new beneficiaries to be added when new descendants are born
- Veto investment decisions that might be unwise
The key to making a trust protector work for you is to be very specific about the powers available to that person. It is important to authorize that person, and any future trust protectors, to fulfill their duty to carry out the trustmaker’s intent—not their own.
Can You Benefit from a Trust Protector?
Generally speaking, the answer is yes. Trust protectors provide flexibility and an extra layer of protection for the trustmaker’s intent as well as for the trust’s accounts and property and its beneficiaries. Trust protector provisions can easily be added to a new trust, and older trusts may be changed to add a trust protector. If you have created a trust or are a beneficiary of a trust that feels outdated, call our office now 617-431-2669.