Watching the Trustee
Who Watches the Watchmen?" has become a modern classic line. In case you don't know, The Watchmen are a fictional group of superheroes. In their story, they originally protected people, but then things broke down and people asked the famous line. It stands for the idea that no one should have complete and total power. It corrupts and thus, power needs to be watched.
In estate planning, a variation of the line is "Who Watches the Trustee?"In a Trust, the Trustee's role is to preserve and protect the Trust assets and invest them for the benefit of the beneficiaries. But, what happens if the Trustee does not do that? The beneficiaries can take the Trustee to Court, but that's often expensive and the outcome of litigation is not usually clear ahead of time.
There is something you can do to have someone watch the Trustee. Appoint a Trust Protector. This is a person who has the power to remove the Trustee and/or make changes to the Trust, if it is necessary to do so the Trust Protector does not oversee the day-to-day functions of the Trust. He or she is only there to fix problems that arise.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Schneider
Experienced estate planning attorneys Portland OR of the Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider LLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Portland OR.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.