VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How a trust protector can help protect an estate plan

Florida residents who are creating an estate plan might want to use a revocable trust in order to have greater control over the distribution of their assets or because they wish to avoid probate. A trustee is appointed to administer a trust, but with no court overseeing the procedure, people might still might be concerned about whether their wishes are carried out. A trust protector can also be named to act as a neutral party in any disputes that arise. Depending on the powers granted to the trust protector, this person might also have the ability to alter the trust if necessary.

The trust might need to be altered if its provisions are no longer necessary or conflict with the creator's intent for the trust. For example, a person might have created a trust around estate tax laws that are obsolete. There might be complicated procedures in place that are no longer necessary to protect an estate from tax. A trust protector would be able to change the trust so that assets are still distributed efficiently and without a tax burden based on existing tax laws.

A trust protector provision, also known as a special co-trustee provision, is used to appoint a trust protector. Because of the powers wielded by the trust protector, a person might want to make the choice with an attorney's assistance.

An attorney may be helpful with other aspects of estate planning as well. Trusts are powerful vehicles that can preserve wealth across generations, provide for a family member who has special needs, or ensure that a portion of a person's estate goes to charity among other functions. People might also want to consider documents that deal with their wishes for end-of-life care and appoint someone to make health care and financial decisions if they are incapacitated.

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