What is a Trust Protector?
Last Updated on August 13, 2022 by Paul Dunn
A Trust Protector is an individual or legal entity authorized to make changes in a trust when the creator of the trust is unable to make those changes. Individuals who create trusts are naturally concerned that future circumstances might require changes to their trust in the future. They are also concerned that they may be unable to make those changes. They realize their mental incapacity or death could prevent necessary changes from being made to their trust.
Perhaps the trustee named by them will prove to be a poor choice or the tax laws affecting their estate have changed. It may become necessary to change, add, or delete beneficiaries. It might even be desirable to change the amount or timing of beneficiary distributions.
Fortunately, there is a way to change a trust document if the trust creator is unable to make these types of changes because of disability or death. An individual who creates a trust can appoint what is known as a “Trust Protector” to make changes to their trust. The Trust Protector can rewrite the terms of the trust using the authority specified by the trust creator. For example, a Trust Protector can be authorized to remove or appoint trustees. They can also be authorized to amend the trust to take advantage of law changes, modify beneficiary interests, or even move the trust to another state having more favorable laws governing the administration or taxation of the trust. The Arizona law authorizing trust protectors is A.R.S. 14-10818.