Bay Area Trust Lawyer: What’s the difference between a Revocable Trust and an Irrevocable Trust?

Trusts are important legal relationships that involve a Grantor who creates a Trust to hold property, a Trustee who holds or manages the property in the Trust, and a Beneficiary (or Beneficiaries) who eventually receives the property. While there are many types of Trusts, they can be broken down into two categories: Revocable and Irrevocable. Below you will find the benefits, disadvantages, and differences between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts.

Revocable Trust

A Revocable Trust, as the name implies, allows the Grantor the ability to change the provisions or revoke the Trust at any point—up to their death, at which time the Trust will typically become Irrevocable. A Revocable Trust allows the Grantor to maintain control over the property that’s put into the Trust. Often, the Grantor will act as the Trustee of his or her own Trust. When the Grantor dies, the property in his or her Trust can pass to their beneficiaries without having to deal with an intrusive and lengthy San Francisco Bay Area probate process.

In addition, if the Grantor/Trustee does not wish to manage the property in the Trust, or cannot due to incapacity, a Successor Trustee named in the Trust document can take over the management of the Trust property. Bay Area Trust lawyers point out that Revocable Trusts do not directly affect your tax liability, nor do they shield assets from creditors. Instead, the usefulness of a Revocable Trust resides in its ability to provide steady management of Trust property without the intervention of a court in the case of incapacity or death, which saves precious time and money, as well as protecting the financial privacy of all those involved.

Irrevocable Trust

Once again, the name says it all. An Irrevocable Trust cannot be changed, rewritten, or revoked (except under limited circumstances that the law provides, and even then, doing so may prove difficult and expensive). In most cases, the Grantor cannot serve as the Trustee of his or her Irrevocable Trust, meaning the Grantor must give up a level of control over the Trust property. Caution should be taken when deciding on a Trustee of an Irrevocable Trust, because the Grantor is giving up such a large degree of control. The Trustee should be someone who can be counted on to follow the terms of the Trust and wishes of the Grantor without any problems.

San Francisco Bay Area Trust attorneys state that the biggest strength of an Irrevocable Trust is that it offers protection from certain taxes, and in some cases from creditors. In order to make use of this protection, proper planning with a Bay Area Trust attorney must be done in order to determine which type of Irrevocable Trust is appropriate for the situation and also to make sure the Irrevocable Trust is funded and managed correctly.

If you have questions on whether a Revocable Trust or Irrevocable Trust is right for you, please contact us at (650) 422-3313 or to set up a consultation.

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