Suze Oman is an ardent proponent of living trusts, claiming that it eliminates extremely high lawyers' and executors' fees for property that goes through probate and that probate can take years, while a revocable trust can transfer property outside of probate much more quickly and with few costs.
Commonly referred to as living trusts, revocable trusts offer an effective estate-planning tool to lower the costs and hassles of probate, preserving privacy and preparing your estate for ease of transition in the event of death or incapacity.
When it comes to protection of assets, an irrevocable trust is far better than a revocable trust. Again, the reason for this is that if the trust is revocable, an individual who created the trust retains complete control over all trust assets.
The downside to irrevocable trusts is that you can't change them. And you can't act as your own trustee either. Once the trust is set up and the assets are transferred, you no longer have control over them.
Revocable, or living, trusts can be modified after they are created. Revocable trusts are easier to set up than irrevocable trusts. Irrevocable trusts cannot be modified after they are created, or at least they are very difficult to modify. Irrevocable trusts offer tax-shelter benefits that revocable trusts do not.
No Asset Protection – A revocable living trust does not protect assets from the reach of creditors. Administrative Work is Needed – It takes time and effort to re-title all your assets from individual ownership over to a trust. All assets that are not formally transferred to the trust will have to go through probate.
If you want to ensure continued support for someone, or protect assets into the future, an irrevocable trust is a way to set up an extended payment schedule or protect property from creditors.
This rule generally prohibits the IRS from levying any assets that you placed into an irrevocable trust because you have relinquished control of them. It is critical to your financial health that you consider the tax and legal obligations associated with trusts before committing your assets to a trust.
Irrevocable trusts are an important tool in many people's estate plan. They can be used to lock-in your estate tax exemption before it drops, keep appreciation on assets from inflating your taxable estate, protect assets from creditors, and even make you eligible for benefit programs like Medicaid.
The four main types are living, testamentary, revocable and irrevocable trusts. However, there are further subcategories with a range of terms and potential benefits.
An irrevocable trust usually can't be changed without a court order or the approval of all the trust's beneficiaries. This makes an irrevocable trust less flexible. But an irrevocable trust can protect trust assets from certain creditors and estate taxes, while a revocable trust cannot.
Some of your financial assets need to be owned by your trust and others need to name your trust as the beneficiary. With your day-to-day checking and savings accounts, I always recommend that you own those accounts in the name of your trust.
With that said, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and asset protection trusts are among some of the most common types to consider. Not only that, but these trusts offer long-term benefits that can strengthen your estate plan and successfully protect your assets.
Here's a good rule of thumb: If you have a net worth of at least $100,000 and have a substantial amount of assets in real estate, or have very specific instructions on how and when you want your estate to be distributed among your heirs after you die, then a trust could be for you.
With your property in trust, you typically continue to live in your home and pay the trustees a nominal rent, until your transfer to residential care when that time comes. Placing the property in trust may also be a way of helping your surviving beneficiaries avoid inheritance tax liabilities.
It may send notices to the trustee to levy on any of your property held in a revocable trust. The IRS can place a levy on any type of property. The IRS may physically seize a movable asset, such as jewelry or an automobile, remove your name from a real estate title deed or seize funds from your bank account.
Note: For 2021, the highest income tax rate for trusts is 37%.
One of the reasons for setting up a trust is to set aside property as separate from one's personal assets. One of the benefits of this is that assets which are held in a trust are protected from creditors, for example should the settlor become insolvent or be declared bankrupt.
Grantor—If you are the grantor of an irrevocable grantor trust, then you will need to pay the taxes due on trust income from your own assets—rather than from assets held in the trust—and to plan accordingly for this expense.
The trustee manages the assets once they are put in the trust. Although they are distinct roles, the grantor and trustee are often the same person. One of the greatest advantages of an irrevocable trust is that it can offer great protection from future creditors and lawsuits as well as bad marriages.
With an irrevocable trust, the transfer of assets is permanent. So once the trust is created and assets are transferred, they generally can't be taken out again. You can still act as the trustee but you'd be limited to withdrawing money only on an as-needed basis to cover necessary expenses.
There are a variety of assets that you cannot or should not place in a living trust. These include: Retirement Accounts: Accounts such as a 401(k), IRA, 403(b) and certain qualified annuities should not be transferred into your living trust. Doing so would require a withdrawal and likely trigger income tax.
For all practical purposes, the trust is invisible to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As long as the assets are sold at fair market value, there will be no reportable gain, loss or gift tax assessed on the sale. There will also be no income tax on any payments paid to the grantor from a sale.
Going Into Care With Your House In Trust
The trouble with trust schemes is that if you put your property in trust, then go into a residential care home or a nursing home, your home is no longer owned by you - it is not part of your capital and cannot therefore be used to fund your care home fees.