Why Do You Need An irrevocable trust?


05/22/2024 · 2 min read

An irrevocable trust is a distinct legal entity in which assets are transferred and held, and the terms of the trust generally cannot be changed or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. Many people choose to set up an irrevocable trust for a variety of reasons. One of the primary motivations is estate tax benefits. When assets are placed in an irrevocable trust, they typically no longer count as part of the grantor's taxable estate, which can lead to significant estate tax savings, especially for those with substantial assets.

Beyond tax considerations, irrevocable trusts offer a layer of asset protection. By transferring assets into the trust, they are generally shielded from potential creditors, making this an attractive option for individuals who may be at risk of lawsuits or those who want to safeguard their assets from potential claims.

Medicaid planning is another reason some opt for an irrevocable trust. To qualify for certain Medicaid benefits, a person's assets and income must fall below specific thresholds. By moving assets into an irrevocable trust, individuals can meet these requirements, although it's essential to be aware of certain look-back periods and penalties.

Additionally, even though the grantor relinquishes direct control over the assets, they can still exert influence by stipulating the terms, conditions, and rules of the trust, ensuring assets are utilized or distributed in a manner aligning with their wishes. This can be particularly helpful for those who have specific desires about how their assets are used after their passing.

Irrevocable trusts can also be a tool for gifting, allowing for the transfer of assets to beneficiaries during the grantor's lifetime without incurring excessive gift taxes. And in cases involving life insurance, an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust can be set up to hold and own life insurance policies, ensuring that the policy's proceeds are not considered part of the taxable estate.

Despite these advantages, it's worth noting that irrevocable trusts do come with some downsides, such as the loss of control over assets and potential complexities in their establishment and maintenance. As such, anyone considering setting up such a trust should seek advice from financial and legal professionals.