Georgia residents who are creating a trust as part of their estate plan might be concerned about disputes that may arise around the trust or that their intentions might not be carried out. A trustee is the person who administers a trust, but a trustee might run into a conflict with beneficiaries or may lack the authority to make needed changes to the trust. Appointing a neutral third party as a trust protector may help prevent these problems.

This trust protector is appointed via a trust protector provision or special co-trustee provision and is only called upon in the event that there are problems with the trust. The owner of the trust decides how much authority this individual has. For example, the trust protector might just be called on to settle any disputes with a beneficiary.

However, widening the scope of the trust protector’s power might help ensure that the spirit of the trust is followed. One example in which this could be useful is if a trust is designed based on existing estate tax laws. By the time the owner of the estate passes away, the law might have changed so that some of the steps are unnecessary and burdensome. The trust protector could make the necessary modifications to keep the process streamlined while protecting the estate from taxes.

A person who is preparing an estate plan might want to discuss this and other aspects of it with an attorney. Even with a simple estate plan, an attorney may be useful. For example, in addition to a will or a trust, people might want to prepare documentation that appoints someone to handle their financial and medical decisions if they become incapacitated. Estate plans should also be reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain current given a person’s changing family and financial situation.