4 Questions You May Have About a Trust Protector But Were Afraid To Ask

March 28, 2022
Alec Borenstein, Esq.

Having a revocable or irrevocable trust allows you to manage your assets and provide a proper inheritance for your heirs. When you create a living trust, you must designate your trustees and beneficiaries. However, in recent times, more people have begun appointing trust protectors. These are individuals or groups who oversee certain decisions made by the trustee and fulfill various other responsibilities.


The trust protector has certain powers over your living trust. Ultimately, they have an important job, which is to keep your trustees and beneficiaries in check. You likely have several questions that you need to ask your trust protector, which can help you better understand their responsibilities.


Here are four questions our trust attorneys in New Jersey recommend you ask your trust protector:


Question #1 -- In What Situations Are They Needed?


Regardless of whether you develop a charitable remainder trust or a standard grantor trust, your trust protector will tell you that their job is to intervene when the time is right. In other words, they have several responsibilities, which include:


  • Modifying the terms of your trust to accommodate changes to the law
  • Correcting errors or terminating a problematic trust
  • Adjusting distributions of assets to beneficiaries
  • Settling disputes between trustees and beneficiaries


Learning more about their duties will make it easier for you to manage and alter your trust when necessary.


Question #2 -- Should You Include or Remove Beneficiaries?

Your trust protector will offer recommendations when it comes to beneficiary designations. For example, one of your beneficiaries divorces one of your adult children, effectively cutting ties with the family. In this case, you’ll want to consider eliminating them as one of your beneficiary designations. Also, if a beneficiary passes away unexpectedly, you’ll need to update your trust.


Questions #3 -- What Is Their Role, Ultimately?

Ultimately, your trust protector is there to help carry out your best wishes and help you to avoid making mistakes regarding your trust. For example, you created an irrevocable trust for the sole purpose of protecting your assets from creditors, divorces, and lawsuits. A trust creditor ultimately has enough flexibility to help you manage and adjust your living trust. This way, you can fulfill your long-term commitments and prevent anyone from jeopardizing the inheritance that you leave behind for your heirs.


Question #4 -- Do You Have To Pay Trust Protector Fees?

Many people won’t hire a trust protector simply because they want to avoid paying the fees. However, most trust protectors won’t charge you any money until they act, and the costs are reasonable. It’s also important to understand that the type of trust you have can impact these fees. Also, when you compare the costs of a trust protector vs. probate court, you’ll likely end up saving money in the long run.


Hire a Reliable Trust Planning Attorney

Estate planning has a lot of complexities, which is why you should consider scheduling a consultation with one of the experts here at Borenstein, McConnel, & Calpin. We ensure that you can protect your assets and set aside a large inheritance for your heirs. Our services will also allow your family to avoid probate, which is a tedious and time-consuming process.


We are ready to get to work for you today! Feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys. We can immediately begin drafting wills, trusts, and other essential documents that enable you to protect and bolster your estate.

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Borenstein, McConnell & Calpin, P.C. is a Wills & Estate Planning law firm serving Central and Northern New Jersey, as well as New York City. We strive not only to give you a great client experience, but to become your trusted adviser for life. To reach Alec, please send an email to alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

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