When forming a trust, many people opt for a revocable arrangement. This means that you can alter or dissolve the trust during your lifetime. An irrevocable trust doesn’t have this advantage. But it comes with a different set of benefits that makes it worth consideration.
One arguable benefit is that irrevocable trusts transfer assets away from your name. From the time you put them in the trust until you die, they belong to its ownership. Some people might dislike the arrangement’s stringency. But it can provide relief when filing taxes, applying for health care or fighting financial judgments.
If you have the following concerns, an irrevocable trust may make sense for you.
Protection from creditors
Unlike revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts protect your assets from creditors. If you’re facing bankruptcy or lawsuits, these assets do not qualify as collateral. This is because you technically do not own them.
Estate tax avoidance
You may be a single person with assets above $11.18 million, or half of a couple whose estate’s value exceeds $22.36 million. In this case, transferring the ownership of your assets to an irrevocable trust means they do not count as part of your estate. Thus, these assets avoid the death tax. Because the trust is not amendable, the trustee – the trust’s administrator – controls its assets while you are alive. Upon your death, the trustee and beneficiaries take ownership of them.
If you’ve retired, healthcare costs are likely a concern for you. These costs reflect your income and assets which, if significant, can make insurance and care unaffordable. Since assets in an irrevocable trust are no longer yours, you do not need to report them when registering for healthcare.
Many people favor the flexibility of revocable trusts. But you may find the protection and tax benefits of an irrevocable trust better suited to your situation. Working with an estate planning attorney can help you determine which trust is right for you.