What Is the "Prudent Investor Rule" in the Illinois Trust Code?

Web Admin - Thursday, January 23, 2020
Inverness estate planning attorney Illinois Trust CodeThe Illinois Trust Code (ITC) went into effect on January 1, 2020, replacing the former Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act and implementing a number of changes that affect trust makers, trustees, and beneficiaries. One notable adjustment is known as the “prudent investor rule,” and it affects a trustee’s ability to make investment decisions regarding the assets in a trust. Before any investment actions are taken by a trustee, it is important to review and understand the rights and responsibilities defined in the ITC.

Understanding the Prudent Investor Rule

Trustees are responsible for investing and managing the assets of a trust, and they have the duty to act prudently when making investments. This includes considering the purpose and terms of the trust, the distribution requirements, and other relevant information. Under the ITC, a trustee may also consider the environmental and social impact of investment decisions, as well as the governance policies of entities where assets are invested. Before making an investment, a trustee should consider:

- The economic conditions that may affect the investment
- The possibility of inflation or deflation
- The anticipated tax costs and consequences of the investment
- How a specific investment can affect the overall portfolio
- The anticipated total return
- The duty to sustain only feasible and suitable costs
- The need for liquidity, regular income, and preservation of capital

The ITC does allow a trustee to examine whether a trust asset has a relationship to the purpose of the trust, or to one or more of the beneficiaries, in order to help determine what to do with the asset. For example, if a trustee believes that real estate property held in a trust is of no value to the trust itself or the beneficiaries, he or she may suggest that the property be sold. A trustee is not eligible to become a beneficiary for the purpose of protecting his or her good faith in connection to the trust.

Contact a Mount Prospect Trust Attorney

The ITC has put a wide variety of rule changes in place. For trustees who manage the assets of a trust, it is imperative to understand how the prudent investor rule affects the decisions they make. To protect against liability or any other legal issues, all trust makers and trustees should seek legal counsel to determine how the ITC will affect them. At  Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our knowledgeable South Barrington estate planning lawyers can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and address any concerns you may have as a trust maker, trustee, or beneficiary. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 847-934-6000. 

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

How Is Exculpation of Trustees Addressed Under the New Illinois Trust Code?

Web Admin - Monday, December 30, 2019
Mount Prospect estate planning lawyer Illinois Trust CodeAs the new year begins, many trust owners (grantors) and trustees are familiarizing themselves with the Illinois Trust Code. As of January 1st, 2020, Illinois has adopted a new set of governing rules over trusts that will be linked to the Uniform Trust Code (UTC). This law involves many changes and updates to the rules surrounding trusts, and one area that has been affected is the modification of exculpation clauses. Moving forward, both grantors and trustees should consult a legal professional to either create, adjust, or better understand their trusts. 

What Does Exculpation of a Trustee Mean?

An exculpatory clause is a provision that can be added to a trust that would relieve a designated individual from responsibility for certain actions. Under the Illinois Trust Code, the exculpation of a trustee would relieve him or her of any liability for a breach of the trust. However, trust relieving will be unenforceable if it is determined that the exculpatory term:

- Absolves a trustee of liability that is committed with deceitful intentions or with carelessness to the purpose of the trust or the interests of the beneficiaries.
- Was inserted because of a trustee’s abuse of a legal or confidential relationship with the grantor. 

Unless the trustee can prove that the exculpatory term was justified under the current situation and that it was adequately communicated to the grantor, the term will be found invalid. For example, if a trustee purposefully acted in a way that was determined to be against the trust in an effort to benefit themselves, that trustee could be responsible for his or her actions.

What Is Changing?

Under previous Illinois law, a grantor of a trust was able to exonerate a trustee from personal liability by including an exculpatory clause into the trust. Although exculpatory clauses can still be used under the Illinois Trust Code, there is now a presumption that they will be found invalid if the trustee created or forced the clause to be added. In order to prove that an exculpatory clause is legitimate, a trust maker should be represented by a third-party counsel during the drafting of the trust.

Contact a Riverwoods Estate Planning Attorney

Due to the significant changes that have been implemented under the Illinois Trust Code, it is important for trust makers and trustees to understand the new policies. If you wish to add an exculpatory clause, or if there has been a breach in your trust, you should work with an attorney to determine your legal options. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our experienced Barrington trust lawyers can work with you to ensure your trust meets the requirements of Illinois law. For a free consultation, call our office today at 847-934-6000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


What Is a Nonjudicial Settlement Agreement in Relation to the ITC?

Web Admin - Thursday, November 07, 2019
Riverwoods estate planning lawyer trustsA trust can provide a person with the ability to protect and manage their assets and distribute them to beneficiaries either before or after their death. When a person creates a trust, they will name a trustee who will be responsible for controlling and managing the property or assets held in the trust. These appointed agents are legally required by the Illinois Trust Code (ITC) to fulfill the duties authorized to them, such as distributing possessions or managing an estate. If disputes arise between a trust’s beneficiaries, a trustee, or any other interested persons, the parties may enter into a nonjudicial settlement agreement to modify the terms of the trust. Before any actions or alterations are enacted, it is important to speak to an experienced trust attorney.  

What Can Be Resolved By a Nonjudicial Settlement Agreement 

Under the ITC, a nonjudicial settlement agreement can address the following subjects:
- The lawfulness and clarification of the terms attached to a trust.
- Approval of a designated agent’s actions.
- The powers which can or cannot be exercised by a trustee, as long as they do not conflict with the purpose of the trust.
- Concerns relating to property held by the trust if the settlement does not conflict with the purpose of the trust.
- The act of removing or appointing a trustee, advisor, or any other delegated representative of financial or nonfinancial powers. This may also include choosing a new successor trustee. 
- The financial compensation that can be provided to a trustee.
- The transfer of a trust’s principal place of administration.
- Accountability of a designated agent for his or her actions relating to the trust.
- The actions taken to resolve disputes related to the administration of the trust, the distribution of assets, or other relevant issues.
- A modification of the terms that relate to the administration of the trust. 
- If a trust is severed into two or more trusts, determination of whether the aggregate interests of each beneficiary are equivalent to their interests before severance.
- The termination of a trust, which can only occur if a court finds that the continuance of the trust is not necessary to achieve the trust’s purpose.

Contact a Long Grove Trusts Attorney

Before the ITC is enacted on January 1st, 2020, it is critical for trust settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries to discuss any possible changes that may need to take place. In order to make sure that your rights are protected, you should work with an experienced attorney who understands the laws regarding trusts in Illinois. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, our Kenilworth estate planning lawyers can provide clarification in your specific situation. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 847-934-6000.  

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.



How Does the Illinois Trust Code Affect Trustees and Beneficiaries?

Web Admin - Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Long Grove estate planning lawyer Illinois Trust CodeMany people utilize trusts to protect and manage their assets and ensure that these assets are properly distributed to their beneficiaries either before or after their death. However, the laws regarding trusts are changing. Effective January 1st, 2020, the Illinois Trust Code (ITC) will be replacing the current Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act. The ITC is linked in certain ways to the Uniform Trust Code (UTC), which is an arrangement of laws designed to establish consistent trust laws between different states. Before the ITC is implemented, trust makers and trustees may need to review their current trusts and determine how the changes to the law may affect them. 

New Default and Mandatory Rules

When a person creates a trust, they place their assets in the control of a trustee, who will oversee the process of managing these assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries according to the terms defined in the trust. The ITC specifies a number of rules that must be followed regarding trusts. While a trust may provide a trustee and beneficiaries with certain rights, powers, duties, limitations, and immunities, the ITC states that:

- A trustee must act in good faith.
- The trust must be lawful and cannot violate public policy.
- A trust may nominate one or more people to serve as the designated representative of a qualified beneficiary, and this representative must act in good faith in the best interests of the beneficiary.
- A trust may not be enforced for more than 21 years.
- The court is granted the power to modify or terminate a trust.
- Spendthrift provisions can be authorized by the court.
- A person who is acting as an agent in a power of attorney must have express authorization in order to act on behalf of a trust settlor. 
- The court may adjust the compensation provided to a trustee if it is deemed to be too high or low.
- A trustee must notify each qualified beneficiary of the trust’s existence, the beneficiaries’ right to a copy of the trust, and whether the beneficiary can receive or request trust accountings. 
- A trustee must send an annual trust accounting to the current beneficiaries.
- A trustee must send a trust accounting to all of the beneficiaries upon the termination of a trust.
- If a trust contains terms waiving a trustee’s liability for breaching the terms of the trust, these terms may be unenforceable.

Contact a Schaumburg Estate Planning Lawyer

The ITC may have significant implications for currently-established trusts, as well as for trusts that are created in the future. Before the ITC is enacted, discussing your questions and concerns with an experienced Arlington Heights trusts attorney could help ensure that your rights as a trustee or beneficiary are protected. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we can help you address any legal issues related to trusts, or we can help you create a trust to protect your assets and distribute them to your beneficiaries. To further discuss your specific situation, contact our office today at 847-934-6000 for a free initial consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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