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What is an Irrevocable Trust?

Posted by Noah Sarkauskas | Jun 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

You may have heard the phrase "Irrevocable Trust." But what exactly is an irrevocable trust? Read on to learn more about irrevocable trusts.

What Is an Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust is a type of trust agreement that cannot be changed or canceled after it has been created. Once the trust is created, the grantor surrenders all control and ownership over the assets held in trust, and these assets are then managed by the trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The assets held in trust are owned by the trust itself.

Irrevocable trusts are often used for estate planning purposes, as they can help to minimize estate taxes and protect assets from creditors. While irrevocable trusts offer many benefits, they also come with some disadvantages, such as the loss of control over assets and the inability to change the terms of the trust. Therefore, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney before creating an irrevocable trust.

What are the Benefits of an Irrevocable Trust?

There are many benefits to setting up an irrevocable trust. One of the most important is that it can help to protect your assets from creditors. Once you transfer property into an irrevocable trust, you no longer own it and therefore it can't be seized by creditors in the event of a lawsuit or debt.

Another benefit is that irrevocable trusts can help you to minimize estate taxes. Property that is held in an irrevocable trust is not taxed as part of your estate, which can save your beneficiaries thousands of dollars in taxes.

Lastly, irrevocable trusts can also help to manage your assets if you become incapacitated. The trustee will have the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, which can help to ensure that your bills are paid and your assets are protected.

How Do You Set up an Irrevocable Trust? 

If you are considering setting up an irrevocable trust, there are a few things you need to do.

The first step in setting up an irrevocable trust is to choose a trustee, which is the person who will manage the trust assets. The trustee can be an individual or a financial institution, but it is important to choose someone who is reliable and trustworthy.

The next step is to choose the beneficiaries of the trust, which can be individuals, charities, or other organizations. Once the beneficiaries have been chosen, the trustee will need to transfer ownership of the assets into the trust. This can be done through a deed or a bank account transfer.

Next, the documents must be created and properly executed. This should be done with the assistance of an attorney. Irrevocable trusts are very precise and complex. One mistake can be very costly to yourself and to your beneficiaries.

Finally, it is important to properly fund the trust so that it has enough money to meet its objectives. Funding can be done through annual contributions or by transferring ownership of assets into the trust.

What Happens if the Grantor of an Irrevocable Trust Dies or Becomes Incapacitated?

If the grantor of an irrevocable trust dies or becomes incapacitated, the terms of the trust will continue to be carried out according to the provisions that are in place. The trustee will still be responsible for managing the assets of the trust and distributing them to the beneficiaries as directed. In some cases, a replacement trustee may need to be named in order to ensure that the trust is managed properly. It is important to have a clear understanding of the terms of an irrevocable trust before putting one in place, as it can have significant consequences if something happens to the grantor.

Can the Terms of an Irrevocable Trust Be Changed After It's Been Created?

An irrevocable trust is a type of trusts that, once created, cannot be modified or terminated by the trustor without the consent of the beneficiaries. This means that the terms of the trust are set in stone and cannot be changed, even if the trustor changes their mind or experiences a change in circumstances.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as if the beneficiaries all agree to changes being made or if a court orders modifications to be made, but in general, the terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be changed after it has been created. This can be beneficial for individuals who want to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes, but it also means that great care must be taken when creating an irrevocable trust to make sure that it meets the needs of all parties involved.

How Does an Irrevocable Trust Differ From a Revocable Trust?

One key difference between an irrevocable trust and a revocable trust is that an irrevocable trust cannot be changed after it has been created, while a revocable trust can be altered at any time by the grantor. With an irrevocable trust, the grantor transfers ownership of the assets in the trust to the trustee, who then manages the assets for the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. Once the assets are transferred, the grantor no longer has any control over them. In contrast, a revocable trust allows the grantor to retain control over the assets during their lifetime. The grantor can change the beneficiaries or revoke the trust entirely if they wish. However, once the grantor dies, the trust becomes irrevocable and cannot be changed. For this reason, people choose to create an irrevocable trust in order to allow for more advanced estate planning methods.

Irrevocable trusts tend to have more inflexibility, but they also tend to offer more asset protection. For example, if you place property in an irrevocable trust, it will be shielded from creditors and lawsuits. However, because revocable trusts can be changed, they offer less asset protection. Another factor to consider is taxation. Assets held in an irrevocable trust are typically not subject to estate taxes, while assets held in a revocable trust may be subject to estate taxes upon your death. As a result, irrevocable trusts can offer significant tax advantages.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to create an irrevocable or revocable trust depends on a number of factors and should be made with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Setting up an Irrevocable Trust?

While there are many benefits to setting up an irrevocable trust, there are also some potential drawbacks that should be considered.

One downside is that once the trust is created, the grantor gives up all control over the assets contained within it. This can be difficult for some people to accept, as it means that they will not be able to make changes even if their circumstances change. Additionally, setting up an irrevocable trust is complex and requires precision.

Finally, it is important to remember that although an irrevocable trust can offer certain protections, it is not necessarily bulletproof. There is always the possibility that the terms of the trust could be challenged in court. For all of these reasons, it is important to contact an attorney to set up an irrevocable trust that is custom-tailored for you.

Contact a Trust Attorney Today

An irrevocable trust is a type of trust that cannot be changed or canceled after it has been created. This makes it a popular choice for estate planning, as it provides certainty that the assets placed in the trust will be distributed according to the wishes of the creator. However, this tool is very complicated and requires precision.

If you're considering creating an irrevocable trust, our team at Heritage Law Office can help you get started. We have years of experience setting up trusts and can walk you through the process step-by-step. Contact us today by sending a message or giving us a call at 414-253-8500 to learn more!

About the Author

Noah Sarkauskas

Bringing technology, automation, machine learning, and a systematic approach to the legal world, Noah Sarkauskas is making the legal field significantly more efficient. Noah leverages technology to complete your legal work in a significantly quicker and more time-efficient matter while simultaneo...


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