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What does the word Irrevocable Mean?

How is it different from a Revocable Trust?  Are they the same thing? These are questions I get all the time. So let’s clear this all up. First, please watch the short video below in which I explain what the heck Irrevocable really means.

Now that you have the idea of what Irrevocable means, how does that apply to a Trust. Basically an irrevocable Trust is a Trust in which you have made the decision not to have the capacity to REVOKE it. This means that it is permanent and that whatever you set forth in the Declaration of Trust is the way it will stay.

When should I use an Irrevocable Trust?

As the video points out, this type of Trust is ideal for things like Gifts, which you would like excluded from your estate, and most importantly for this discussion ASSET PROTECTION.  In fact, it is the nature of the irrevocability of the Trust which gives it such powerful asset protection features. Basically, since you have not reserved the right to revoke the Trust, the court must consider the Trust document, including all of the protective provisions.

Do I lose control in an Irrevocable Trust?

Does this mean that if you create an irrevocable trust you have no influence whatsoever? Not at all. In fact, you can (and should) retain quite a bit of influence over the Trust. This is particularly true with an Offshore Asset Protection Trust, in which you are also the primary beneficiary. The key to that is that there will be 2 sets of rules about when and how you, as the Settlor, can influence the Trust. This gets into the skillful drafting of a good APT, and I recommend you see the section on the Asset Protection Trust for more details.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the skillful use of an Irrevocable Trust is both desirable and useful in many cases. And if Asset Protection is your goal, then it is essential, and you don’t have to lose control to do it!

Douglass Lodmell

One of The Nation's Leading Asset Protection Attorneys

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. What if I have a irrevocable trust in I want to get a divorce after being marriage for 25 year can my wife get any of my money from my trust I set up the irrevocable trust in 2014 please let me know

  2. My trust attorney has said that a special needs trust needs to be irrevocable (I’m trustor and trustee, my daughter is beneficiary) so that SSI and Medicare don’t request payback. I thought that as long as it was a third party trust that would suffice? I don’t understand the logic or know the law code that requires irrevocability for this type of protection.

  3. if one grandparent who left me a irrevocable trust has passed away and the other is still living but will not let me see the will of grandparent who passed away Is there a way to see this trust

  4. i am the beneficiary of an irrevocable trust ( i presume beneficiary doe not mean the attorney who has my i.t ?) so by investopedia’s definition, it is a trust that can not be modified or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. therefore, can I change the conditions?

  5. My mother does not have a will. Brother is POA. Her home is still in HER name. Upon her death I assume it will go to probate? I am sole caregiver. Should I suggest an irrevocable trust be drafted? For yrs I was led to believe this property would be left solely to Me as he was given other property years ago.

  6. How is the Irrevocable trust treated if the trustee/beneficiary files bankruptcy?. Is the trust subject levy by the IRS for income tax delinquencies of the trustee/beneficiary?

  7. Is there a “Tax Bracket Table” available for Trusts? In particular, the tax bracket that shows the tax bracket that one might be in and what per cent of taxes would have to be paid.

  8. I’ve been told that with an irrevocable trust I cannot be sued. Let’s say I am at fault in a car accident. My attorney says that the person in the car I hit cannot sue me above what my auto insurance allows. Is this true? My online research says that while I cannot be sued, the trust can be sued.

  9. My husband died and I am the trustee of his irrevocable trust. My son ( I ave only one child) will become the trustee when I die. He is buying a house. Can he use a portion of that money as a down payment?

  10. my mother just passed away and her home passed on to me. i am in the process of setting up an irrecocable trust with 4 grandchildrens names along with me being the trustee. will this mean that we now will all be “owners” of the home or only when I pass away? I’m confused. This is being done in Michigan.

  11. before my husband’s stepdad past he and my husband’s mother made out a trust leaving my husband 32 acres of land that has been in the family for 100’s of years she got into bad fianancial situations and needed money sold it to her grandson for 100,000.00 dollars can she legally do this can she break the irrrevolkable trust,

  12. I am the Trustee and only beneficiary of my mother’s revocable trust. My mother has dementia and diminished capacity, she is 90. She is extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of my men. Would an irrevocable trust be a protection for instance if she were to marry and her husband would try to get control of her trust?

    1. An irrevocable trust can provide some of the protections you’re mother would need in those circumstances, but the current revocable trust will probably not provide protection if that’s where here assets are located. It would be a good idea for you and your mother to meet with a local estate planning attorney to work through possible scenarios.

  13. I just listened to your video on revocavble vs. irrevocable trusts. My attorney, Matt Anich, has a problem with the irrevocable part of this, but I think he doesn’t realize that this is a small part of my investment. I have already bought into part of a “Copyrighted Irrevocable, Non-Grantor, Complex, Discretionary, Spendthrift Trust” Through Ms. Bernal from Iowa.
    I think I would like to Put 1 out of 10 M in this, if you think this would be OK, since I paid for half ($2800) already toward the administration.

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