Structuring Trust Protector Provisions: Powers & Duties, Trustee Oversight, Tax and Fiduciary Risks

Avoiding Unintentional Fiduciary Classification, Navigating State Differences

Recording of a 90-minute CLE/CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This webinar will provide estate planning counsel and advisers with a practical guide to structuring trust protector and directing party provisions into a trust or estate plan. The panel will discuss the specific duties to assign to trust protectors, potential risks to both the trustor and the protector, and will detail jurisdictional challenges in determining when to use a trust protector.


Estate planners and trust counsel are increasingly using trust protector provisions in trust documents to preserve the intent of the maker of the trust and resolve disputes between trustees and/or beneficiaries. Trust protector provisions are especially useful in trusts with longer terms.

However, there are variances among states as to the treatment of trust protectors. Estate planning counsel must be aware of tax and fiduciary risks in drafting the provisions to avoid costly consequences.

The duty of trust protectors is to oversee the operation of the trust and the actions of the trustees. In some jurisdictions, trust protectors can modify trusts, make elective distributions, change the situs of the trust and replace the trustee. While no state law defines a trust protector’s powers, there are restrictions and consequences if the powers are not properly structured.

Estate planning counsel must use caution in drafting trust agreements, in identifying the trust protector’s powers, and in designating the extent to which a trust protector serves as a fiduciary. Some states adopt the Uniform Trust Code’s position that a protector owes fiduciary duties absent language in the trust to the contrary. Other states do not presume fiduciary status of trust protectors, unless the trust document provides otherwise.

Listen as our panel of trust and estate planning attorneys provides thorough guidance for structuring trust protectors or directing parties provisions in estate plans.



  1. Powers that may be granted to a trust protector related to oversight of trustee
  2. Powers that may be granted to trust protectors related to operation or modification of trust terms
  3. Which states have provisions authorizing the appointment of trust protectors?
  4. Determining whether a trust protector is a fiduciary
  5. Trust protector powers that may cause gift or income tax inclusion or loss of GST exemption


The panel will discuss these and other important topics:

  • Which states adopt the Uniform Trust Code’s position that a trust protector is a fiduciary unless the trust document specifies differently?
  • What trust protector duties or actions can result in gift or income tax consequences?
  • What are the risks of using trust protectors to either the trust or the beneficiaries?
  • What powers may a trust document grant a trust protector, both in terms of overseeing the trustee’s actions and modifying the terms of the trust?


Bove, Alexander
Alexander A. Bove, Jr.

Partner, Program Chair
Bove & Langa

Mr. Bove's practice focuses on trusts and estates, with over thirty-five years of experience. His practice...  |  Read More

Kalish, William
William Kalish

Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns

Mr. Kalish focuses his practice on representing individuals and businesses on a broad range of tax and business related...  |  Read More

Merritt, Susan
Susan J. Merritt

Senior Vice President | Senior Fiduciary Officer
Northern Trust

Ms. Merritt is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Orange County region’s fiduciary practice including...  |  Read More

Meck, Elizabeth
Elizabeth T. Meck

Vice President | Personal Trust Administration
Northern Trust

As a member of the Trust Advisory team, Ms. Meck provides fiduciary and legal expertise in the implementation of...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include program handouts. To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

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