Trust Protectors for Oklahoma Trusts
When a Trustee is in charge of the assets of the trust, who is looking over the Trustee’s shoulder to keep an eye on the Trustee? A Trust Protector can be given powers to monitor the Trustee. These powers can include removing the trustee or modifying the trust. But can you have a Trust Protector for an Oklahoma trust?
Oklahoma statute 60 O.S. 175.3(M) defines the default role of “Trustee Advisor” to give advice to the Trustee, but unless the trust document says otherwise, the Trustee Advisor only acts in an advisory role. The statute implies the trust document can expand the role of a Trust advisor, but how far can it be expanded? Can the role of a Trustee Advisor be expanded to the role commonly referred to as a Trust Protector in other states? The statute is not clear and as of yet there is no Oklahoma case law to interpret how far the trust instrument can expand the role.
The Oklahoma Discretionary and Special Needs Trust Act at 60 O.S. 175.84 specifically mentions the role of Trust Protector but only in the context of special needs trusts. The statutes are unclear if a Trustee Advisor can expand to the role of Trust Protector or if the role of Trust Protector is distinct and separate from the role a Trust Advisor can be. Unfortunately at this time (February 2018) there is no guidance from the courts.