Menu ${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Practice Areas
Let's Get Started!

Trust Protectors: Increased Oversight of Designated Trustees

People who have diverse assets and complex estate planning ambitions have many trust options from which to choose. From basic living trusts and irrevocable trusts to trusts that serve a beneficiary's special needs or the designators' charitable ambitions, a trusts and estates lawyer can explain the advantages of each strategy.

However, an equally important issue for many estate planning clients is the fundamental question of who to "trust" with carrying out your detailed wishes. Increasingly, people with significant or otherwise complex trust ambitions are considering appointment of trust protectors in addition to trustees to ensure that plans are carried out quickly and efficiently in light of evolving circumstances.

Trust protectors can be granted a wide range of powers by the person who sets up the trust, including:

  • Removing trustees and replacing them
  • Expanding on the powers granted to trustees, or imposing new limits
  • Adding beneficiaries, such as children born after the trust grantor's death
  • Resolving trustee/trustee or trustee/beneficiary disputes
  • Amending distribution rules based on changed circumstances
  • Overseeing distribution or investment decisions, including the power to veto improper choices

One important role for trust protectors is making changes to irrevocable trusts, which by definition cannot be altered by the grantor after they are created. In addition, trust protectors can be authorized to make decisions that trustees can only carry out with authorization from the probate court, such as cutting out a beneficiary who has acquired a gambling or drug addiction.

Because this concept in wills and estates law is relatively new, it is subject to evolving legal interpretations in Massachusetts appellate courts. An estate planning attorney can help clients understand their need for enhanced oversight of a trust instrument to avoid the pitfalls of indecisive trustees or the emergence of unforeseen challenges to carrying out the trust's purpose.

Source: "Why You May Need A "Trust Protector", Barrons, 3/3/12

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts

Braintree Office
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Suite 406
Braintree, MA 02184

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Phone: 617-523-1555
Braintree Law Office Map

Cranston Office
200 Midway Road
Suite 159
Cranston, RI 02920

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Cranston Law Office Map

Hyannis Office
1330 Phinney’s Lane
Hyannis, MA 02601

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Hyannis Law Office Map

Norwood Office
520 Providence Highway
Suite 10
Norwood, MA 02062

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Norwood Law Office Map

Waltham Office
375 Totten Pond Road
Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02451

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Waltham Law Office Map

Westborough Office
276 Turnpike Road
Suite 228
Westborough, MA 01581

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Westborough Law Office Map

Woburn Office
444 Washington Street
Suite 203
Woburn, MA 01801

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Woburn Law Office Map