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Irrevocable trusts are a valuable estate planning tool

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Trusts

Irrevocable trusts are financial tools that many people consider for wealth management and estate planning. Once you place assets into an irrevocable trust, the trust itself becomes the owner so you give up control over those assets. 

Creating an irrevocable trust comes with a permanence that may deter some individuals. Once assets are transferred, they are generally out of your reach unless the trust document allows for specific modifications under certain conditions. This loss of control is perhaps the most significant drawback to consider.

Advantages that make it worth considering

Despite the loss of control, the benefits of an irrevocable trust are substantial. Since the assets in the trust are no longer in your name, they’re typically shielded from creditors and legal judgments. This can be especially beneficial for those at risk of financial disputes. An irrevocable trust can also offer tax advantages, particularly in reducing estate taxes because assets in the trust are not considered part of your taxable estate.

Another benefit is the potential for Medicaid eligibility. Transferring assets into an irrevocable trust can help individuals meet the asset limits required to qualify for Medicaid assistance for long-term care. However, timing is crucial because the “look-back” period may disqualify you from benefits if the transfer is too close to the application time.

Drawbacks to remember

Besides the loss of control, there are other drawbacks to think about. The cost and complexity of setting one up can be prohibitive for some. Another downside is the lack of flexibility. Unlike their revocable counterparts, making changes to the terms or beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust can be difficult or impossible without the beneficiaries’ consent.

When considering an irrevocable trust, weighing both the benefits and drawbacks is crucial. Working with someone familiar with estate planning can help you decide what’s best for your circumstances.