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Should I have an Irrevocable Trust?

You may have heard the terms “revocable trusts” and “irrevocable trusts.” Both are created to hold assets for different purposes. The differences are explained in a recent article from Kiplinger, “With Irrevocable Trusts, It’s All About Who Has Control.”

Both types of trusts are separate legal entities created through contracts. They name a trustee who is in charge of the trust and its assets. The trustee is a fiduciary, having a legal obligation to manage the assets in the trust for the beneficiaries. Depending on how the trust is structured, these are the people who will receive assets or income generated by the assets in the trust.

With the revocable trust, the grantor—the person who creates the trust—can be a trustee and maintain total control of the trust. They can change the terms of the trust, beneficiaries, and successor trustees at any time. In exchange for this level of control, however, come some downsides. The revocable trust doesn’t have the same level of protection as an irrevocable trust while the grantor is living.

The irrevocable trust trades control for benefits. The grantor of an irrevocable trust can’t change the trust once it’s been created, nor can they move assets in and out of the trust at will. Beneficiaries may not be changed either. However, when the irrevocable trust is properly created with an experienced estate planning attorney, they achieve many estate and tax goals.

Your estate planning attorney will be able to explain which irrevocable trust suits your situation, as there are many different kinds.

An irrevocable trust where the grantor is also the beneficiary is referred to as a Domestic Asset Protection Trust or DAPT. The grantor is allowed to be the beneficiary of the trust, but it has to be created in one of the 20 jurisdictions where the grantor is allowed to be the beneficiary. You can have a trust created in a jurisdiction other than your own.

The first step is to determine how to fund an irrevocable trust, where assets are transferred into the trust. There are fine points here. For instance, you can’t fund an irrevocable trust if there are issues with the IRS or the threat of litigation from a creditor. If the dispute goes to court, a judge can set aside the transfers into the trust as they were made with the intent to circumvent a creditor’s claim under fraudulent transfer laws.

Creating irrevocable trusts, like much of estate planning, needs to be completed before issues arise. Decisions about naming trustees, successor trustees, beneficiaries, and funding sources should be discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney first.

You may have questions about which type of trust is best for you. Don't wait to secure your future! Call our office today to schedule a consultation with our experienced estate planning attorney. We can help you understand the intricacies of revocable and irrevocable trusts and choose the one that aligns with your goals.

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