As an attorney, you understand the value of a trust protector for an irrevocable trust. While “set in stone,” the trust still needs someone to watch over it and ensure it can adapt to changes in the law and/or resolve differences between trustees and beneficiaries. Communicating the value of a trust protector to your clients isn’t always easy, but such a position has potentially great benefit to them and their beneficiaries over the long haul. Here are some suggestions for getting the point across:
- Use clear language so your clients understand exactly why a trust protector is a good idea. It’s a technical concept, and the uninformed person might think that assigning a person to watch over the person who’s watching over your assets is needlessly redundant!
- Your client might not like the idea of an independent, non-family party – an attorney or accountant – serving as a trust protector. Explain that third parties look at the facts, and, unlike family members, don’t get caught up in personal drama or old grudges.
- If there’s an emergency – such as an economic issue causing the trust to hemorrhage funds in its current set-up – only a trust protector has the ability to make changes to stop the bleeding. With an irrevocable trust, your client cannot take action.
- The client can decide whether the trust protector receives basic powers – such as removing trustees and settling disputes – or can take on a more expansive role. That includes terminating the trust, if necessary.
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