A comprehensive, properly funded trust allows you to avoid probate, minimize taxes, provides organization, maintains control, and provides for yourself and your loved ones. On a basic level, a trust is a set of instructions where you tell your trusted people what to do and when to do it.
There are many types of trusts, but a major distinction between trusts is whether they are revocable or irrevocable.
Revocable Trust. A revocable trust, also known as a “revocable living trust”, is a type of trust designed to benefit you during your lifetime and which allows you to revise or revoke it if your circumstances or goals change.
- You stay in control of your revocable trust. You can transfer ownership of property into the trust and take it out, serve as the trustee (the individual in charge of managing the accounts and assets owned by the trust), and be the beneficiary. You have full control.
- You select the trustees who will act for you if you become unable to do so and when you die. You select and authorize who will act for you when you need help, not the courts.
- The accounts and assets owned by the trust avoid probate. Although you will die, your trust lives on after you. The trust will continue to be the owner of the accounts and assets until the trustee has been instructed by the trust document to transfer those accounts and property to your intended recipients. By avoiding probate, you save your loved ones time and money and keep the details of your estate plan private.
- You determine how your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance. If your beneficiary is young, going through a divorce, bad at managing money, or has a possibility of being sued, a properly drafted trust can protect the money and property you leave the beneficiary.
Irrevocable Trusts: As with a revocable trust, when you establish an irrevocable trust you transfer money and assets out of your individual name and into the name of the trust. However, with an irrevocable trust, you, as the trustmaker, cannot alter, change, or cancel this trust after it has been signed. Additionally, in order to maximize the benefits of an irrevocable trust, you usually cannot control what happens to the money and property once it is given to the trust.
Some features of an irrevocable trust include:
- Accounts and assets owned by an irrevocable trust have increased protections from creditors and lawsuits.
- Your personal tax liability is often reduced because, in most cases, the accounts and assets owned by the irrevocable trust are no longer part of your estate.
- In some cases, a trust protector (called a trust director in Michigan) can modify your irrevocable trust if there is a change in circumstances and your initial goals for the trust become frustrated.
We have the experience to help you figure out whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is a good fit for you and your loved ones. Call us today to set up a virtual or in-person meeting.