Most people in New Jersey who want to avoid the probate process for the distribution of their estates after they die know that revocable trusts are a means of doing so. Since the court does not oversee trusts, people might wonder who handles their administration.
In the event that there is more than one trustee managing the distribution of the assets, disagreements over how to do so sometimes arise. Disagreements over how the trust distributes assets also sometimes arise between the beneficiaries of the trust and the trustees. People can avoid issues by including a special co-trustee provision. This acts to allow a third trusted individual to interpret the provisions of the trust concerning how the assets are supposed to be distributed.
This special co-trustee is known as the trust protector. It is someone that the creator trusts to make decisions regarding the asset distribution. Often, this person will need to do very little with the administration of the trust, but will be available in the event an interpretation is needed. The extent of the trust protector’s duties is up to the trust creator. For example, he or she may be given the power to take steps to minimize the tax burden in the event that the laws change.
In addition to setting up revocable trusts, other estate planning documents may also be a good idea. People may want to draw up powers of attorney, which give a designated person the right to make important financial and health decisions in the event the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to so so. A wills and trusts attorney might provide guidance to a client regarding the types of documents that might be the most beneficial.