Cleveland Estate Planning Attorney

What is a Trust Protector?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers information on a Trust Protector and their Role and benefits realized as part of your Comprehensive Estate Plan:

Who is a Trust Protector?

As it sounds, a Trust Protector is appointed to oversee the assets in the trust and to protect against the trustees so that they do not give into temptation and embezzle from the trust or squander the assets of the trust with unnecessary fees or legal issues.

Having a Trust Protector typically was only used with the upper echelons of society but some may say that if there is a trust, there should be a Trust Protector.   It is wise to appoint a Trust Protector especially in cases that the trust will be a long term trust such as:

  • Trust for your spouse so that they will live a certain lifestyle after you pass
  • Your children, grandchildren, or other heirs, that need to reach a goal in life prior to releasing the funds of the trust
  • Charitable goals – what is your legacy

Upon setting up a trust and should the trust have more than one trustee, there is a possibility of issues coming up which are believed to not be in the best interest of the trust. Having a Trust Protector can potentially quash any conflicts which may arise.  In addition, a Trust Protector can be very beneficial in other instances where conflict may arise.

Can I appoint anyone to be my Trust Protector?

You can appoint anyone you would like to protect your trust. Some ideas may be:

  • Someone who is close to your family
  • A Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • An attorney
  • Corporate Entity or Bank
  • Financial Planner CFP

What are the duties of a Trust Protector and Why would I need one?

Additional duties of a Trust Protector are, but not limited to:

  • If the trustee or trustees are performing in such a manner that is not advantageous to the beneficiaries of the trust OR are being unresponsive, the Trust Protector has the authority to remove the trustee and replace them if necessary.
  • Should any disputes or conflicts arise between the trustees, the Trust Protector’s Role is to resolve the disputes.
  • If there is a change of status with any of the beneficiaries, it would be the Trust Protector’s responsibility to update the trust accordingly.
  • Should there be any new beneficiaries which needed to be added, the Trust Protector would make the necessary changes to the Trust.
  • The Trust Protector also has VETO power of any financial / investment decisions which may not be in the best interest of the trust and it’s beneficiaries.
  • If the laws governing trusts change, the Trust Protector has the ability to amend the trust if the changes are advantageous to the trust.
  • The Trust Protector can manage the amount of money the trustees can spend by setting a dollar amount and/or requiring two signatures on a check before it can be released. The dollar amount will be predetermined upon the penning of the trust so that all the trustees and the Trust Protector are aware of this stipulation.
  • The Trust Protector has the ability to dissolve the trust for specific reasons such as;


  • There are no more funds in the trust as they have been released to the heirs as set forth in the trust and will


  • The goals of the heirs have been met and all the funds are released therefore leaving no assets in the trust

It is wise to put in writing what role you would like the Trust Protector to have handling your assets. To start a discussion  on your personalized comprehensive estate plan, including; living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, or further questions on a Trust Protector, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law.  Baron Law provides estate planning services for the greater Cleveland, Ohio area.  Contact us today at 216-573-3723.

Estate Planning Attorney

What Recourse Do I Have if My Power of Attorney is Stealing From Me?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following helpful answers to Powers of Attorney:

Can the Power of Attorney be used by the agent to take my money or property without my permission?

Unfortunately, you can run the risk that the agent you choose to give your Power of Attorney could abuse the power by spending your money or taking your money without your knowledge or worse without your permission. Because the agent can use the Power of Attorney to access your bank account and sell your property, it is prudent  that you not give your Power of Attorney to anyone you do not trust.  If you happen to have an unscrupulous agent, it can be very challenging to get back funds or property taken by the agent, because the agent usually has no money left to return as they have used it all for their benefit.  The person acting as your Power of Attorney has the power to sell your property, or mortgage it.  It cannot be stressed enough that you chose your Power of Attorney very wisely.


If I think someone is using my Power of Attorney to steal from me, what can I do?

If you are suspicious that your agent is abusing their powers, revoke the Power of Attorney immediately.

Next, without delay, notify all banks, brokerage firms, or other financial institutions in which you have money that you have revoked the Power of Attorney.

Finally, go to the probate court. You may either by yourself or through an attorney.  Demand that the agent you suspect of absconding with your funds file a detailed account showing how your money was spent. A filing fee will need to be paid by you and you may need to possibly pay the agent for the cost of preparing the accounting documentation. Next, the court will hold a hearing at which time you can challenge the any or all of the information given in the detailed accounting. Ultimately, if the court finds the agent took your money without your authorization, you can sue the agent and/or possibly press criminal charges.


Can I revoke my Power of Attorney?

The Power of Attorney cannot be used unless the agent has it or it, or at least a copy and either you or they have given to banks, financial institutions, or others so that they think you want the agent to act on your behalf. If you have not given the Power of Attorney to anyone, you can revoke it by destroying the document.

If the eventuality the Power of Attorney has been given to the agent, an institution, or has already been recorded, you should execute immediately a revocation of the Power of Attorney that is witnessed and acknowledged in the same manner as the first Power of Attorney. Then; just as you distributed the Power of Attorney initially, you will need to furnish a copy of the Revocation to the banks, brokerage firm, or any other financial institution, and anyone else that may have a copy of the original Power of Attorney form that they know the Power of Attorney is no longer valid.

A Power of Attorney is only one of the many parts to a comprehensive estate plan. For information regarding living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, or further questions on Powers of Attorney, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law today at 216-573-3723.


Estate Planning Lawyer

What’s the Difference Between a Living Will and Last Will and Testament?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following helpful answers to your questions about the difference between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament.
Confusing these terms happens quite frequently as there are those that think that these are one in the same, however, they are entirely two distinct legal documents which cover many different needs.

A Living Will, what is it and do I need one?



Should you become extremely ill or completely incapacitated and cannot convey their medical care wishes; having a living will in place, (which is a legal document AKA as an advance directive), gives instructions as to the medical care you wish to receive.

Some of the details of a Living Will would include

  • Do I want to be placed on a breathing tube
  • Do I want a feeding tube
  • Would I rather not be resuscitated (AKA DNR – Do Not Resuscitate)

Also, at this point it would be wise to consider having a Power of Attorney put in place in the event that you do become incapacitated so that there is someone making sure that your wishes are carried out as you have communicated in your Living Will. Naming a Power of Attorney can be done at the time of penning your will.


 Last Will and Testament, is it different than a Living Will?

Your last will and testament, also simply known as a will, is a legal document that stipulates the transferring of your estate to somebody else by sale or gift upon your demise. Should you pass away without a will, your assets then become “intestate”.  At this time state intestacy laws govern the distribution of your assets.

If you have minor children, you should unquestionably have a will. At the same time of the writing of your will, it is possible for you to name a guardian for your minor children.  You can also name the guardian to manage the minor’s financial affairs or another party to act on behalf of the children.

As you are drafting your will, it will be necessary for you to select an Executor of your estate. The Executor is one who carries out the will’s requests throughout the process of probate.

Living Will and Last Will – when do they take effect?

Now that you are aware of the differences between a Living Will and a Last Will, you may question as to when the two take effect.

Keeping in mind that the Living Will outlines your medical wishes should you become incapacitated or seriously ill and unable to convey your wishes, this comes into play while you are still alive but unable to voice your wishes.

To stipulate your wishes of how to distribute your estate upon your passing comes into play by using a Last Will and Testament .

So as you can see a Living Will and a Last Will and testament are two separate, but very important legal documents for everyone to have in place.

Living Will vs. Last Will?

If you are pondering the questions as to whether you need a last will or a living will. The answer to that question should be very easy; just about everyone should have both. Each of these important documents are ones that every person doing their Estate Planning should secure as these offer you the peace of mind that your wishes will be followed when you can’t make them known due to a serious illness and/or incapacitation or death.

Having a last will and testament, also makes the probate process go more smoothly, and with a living will, it can provide direction to your loved ones or Power of Attorney, in making challenging decisions during a stressful and difficult time.

So when is the best time for me to get a living will and a last will?

Unless you have a crystal ball which states otherwise, the future is uncertain. Securing both a living will and a last will and testament and recording your wishes is best done sooner than later.

Both a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament are only two of the many parts to a comprehensive estate plan. For information regarding living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, or further questions on Powers of Attorney, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law at 216-573-3723 to make an appointment.