This blog has previously talked about different trust types and the way they can be used as tools to meet certain estate planning goals. This week, let's look at why a trust may be a good idea for some individuals who want to have a bit more control over how their assets are distributed after their deaths.
Regular readers of this space may recall that guardianship of an adult may occur if that adult becomes no longer competent to handle some or all of his or her own affairs. We have discussed that any competent adult can file a petition to determine someone's incapacity, and a court may appoint that person or a different person to be the ward's guardian. While a guardian can be someone who knows the ward, there are also some professional guardians who make a career of caring for incapacitated people's assets.
Previously, this blog has discussed what wills are, as well as what happens if someone dies without a last will and testament. There are other special cases as well, however, including what is called an "elective share" or sometimes a "spousal share." As a public policy matter, elective shares are meant to prevent the intentional or accidental disinheriting of a spouse (and sometimes children) by a person's last will and testament.
The Uniform Laws Commission attempts to promote stability and consistency in state statutes by promulgating uniform laws that states can use in their own legislative processes. The commission has delved into the area of trusts and estates by publishing a "Uniform Probate Code." In an attempt to keep up with common practices in the area, a section of the Uniform Probate Code addresses the use of so-called "trust protectors," a convention that has become more popular in recent years. Florida has modeled its own trust protector statute on this section. The question then arises, what is a trust protector?