Many estate plans contain irrevocable trusts designed to continue for the benefit of a spouse’s lifetime and future generations. It is important that these trusts include a trust protector; with the power to change trust provisions as circumstances, beneficiaries, and governing laws change.
A trust protector is an individual or group of individuals. Trust protectors have the power necessary to ensure fulfillment of the goals of an irrevocable trust. Generally, the trust protector may be a family member or friend (typically not a beneficiary or trustee of the trust). Often an unrelated trusted advisor, or a group of these individuals acting by a majority or unanimous agreement. Naming a trust protector will depend on the trust creator’s wishes and the intended duration of the trust.
The trust creator gives a trust protector as few or as many powers as they desire. It is tempting to give a trust protector a wide array of powers to deal with every possible future circumstance. The trust creator should carefully consider the specific purposes and goals and only give the trust protector powers to further those purposes and goals.
Regardless of a trust creator’s intent, below are three powers that all trust creators should consider giving their trust protectors:
Including a trust protector in an irrevocable trust agreement or a revocable trust agreement is critical to the success and longevity of the trust. Nonetheless, the trust protector should only be given powers that will ensure the purposes and goals of the trust creator are ultimately fulfilled.
If you are interested in adding a trust protector to your trust or would like to have the trust protector provisions of your trust reviewed, please contact us.
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