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How do revocable and irrevocable trusts work?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Estate planning

Your will is an important part of your estate plan, but it is not the only way to give your family an inheritance. Placing your money and property into a trust may allow for better fulfillment of your estate wishes.

Kiplinger explains that trusts come in two main types, a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust.

What revocable trusts can offer

Putting your assets into a revocable trust means they do not pass through probate after you die. This allows your trust assets to remain private, reducing the possibility of court conflicts over your property and the risk of scammers preying upon your family.

You can also set yourself up as the trustee and manage the trust. Additionally, you may alter the trust, remove assets from the trust, and even abolish the trust. In the event you suffer incapacitation or die, a successor trustee can take over and carry out your wishes.

The features of an irrevocable trust

Since you still own assets you put into a revocable trust, it is possible for creditors to claim them if they sue you. By contrast, you give up ownership of anything you place in an irrevocable trust, so creditors cannot take possession of it.

The tradeoff is that you cannot be the trustee or change the trust, plus abolishing the trust could prove difficult. An irrevocable trust is also more expensive to set up than a revocable trust. Still, irrevocable trusts can reduce estate taxes on your assets, provide for someone with special needs, and hold assets so they do not count toward Medicaid.

Trusts can address many kinds of needs. It should be possible to focus on a specific type that will best serve your priorities.