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Understanding how revocable and irrevocable trusts differ

When planning for the future, it is important to consider asset management and distribution. A trust is a type of legal arrangement that allows you to transfer your property and assets to a separate entity, with that entity then managing the trust according to your wishes.

There are two main types of trusts: revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts, and each has its own characteristics and benefits.

Revocable trusts

A revocable trust, or living trust, is a type of trust that allows the creator, or the grantor, to change or revoke it. This means that if you set up a revocable trust, you can make alterations to its terms and beneficiaries and even dissolve the trust altogether if you wish to do so. The key advantage of a revocable trust is its flexibility. As life circumstances change, you have the ability to adjust the trust to reflect your current situation.

Additionally, revocable trusts often serve as a tool for managing assets in case the grantor becomes incapacitated, as a successor trustee can take over management without the need for court intervention. A potential downside of creating a revocable trust is that it does not offer the same degree of protection from creditors as an irrevocable trust.

Irrevocable trusts

You cannot revoke or change an irrevocable trust, except under certain specific circumstances and with the consent of all parties involved. Once you transfer assets into an irrevocable trust, you relinquish ownership and control over those assets.

This might sound limiting, but irrevocable trusts come with their own set of advantages. They can offer substantial asset protection, as the assets within the trust are generally shielded from creditors, lawsuits and certain types of taxation.

Deciding between a revocable and an irrevocable trust depends on your specific goals and needs.