What is a Trust Protector?

Some estate planning lawyers incorporate provisions provide for an individual to act as a so-called "Trust Protector". Typically, a trust protector is someone who is designated to make decisions about appointing or removing a trustee or determining when distributions from a trust should be made or when a trust should be terminated. Outside of specifically defined decisions, the trust protector generally has no other duties or powers. 

The trust protector position usually allows a key person to make decisions without imposing fiduciary obligations and liabilities on him. Despite this rationale, there is legal authority that suggests that trust protectors are not exempt from fiduciary duties.