Asset protection planning (and estate planning) frequently involves the use of one or more trusts. Possibilities include an offshore trust, Domestic Asset Protection Trust, irrevocable life insurance trust and various other kinds of trusts.
Most of these trusts are designed to last for many years. It is therefore important to give the trustee the flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances. Many things can change during the life of a trust. Among the many changes that a trustee may be faced with are:
· Beneficiary’s creditor problems
· Changes in family circumstances (including divorce)
· Cost of living
· Legal changes
A person setting up a trust is often inclined to impose very specific requirements on the trustee (for example, making specific distributions to beneficiaries each year). But one or more of the changes mentioned above could make a particular distribution problematic. Giving your trustee flexibility and discretion often makes the most sense. This is why I frequently remind my clients that who you choose as trustee of a trust can be just as important as the trust documentation.
In any event, it is important to keep in mind that no matter what kind of trust you establish, you are going to have to give your trustee a certain amount of flexibility to react to future changes.