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What are irrevocable and revocable trusts?

A trust can be a very useful tool when you are planning for what will happen to your estate when you die. There are several positive points about trusts that most people enjoy. One interesting aspect of the trust is that the contents of the trust are subject to the rules and instructions you set for the trust. That is true from the day you establish the trust until the trust is depleted. There are two main types of trusts that you should consider if you want to include a trust in your estate plan.

What is an irrevocable trust?

An irrevocable trust is one that can't be changed at all once it is established. This means that if you change your mind about the contents of the trust, the instructions for the trust or any other aspect of the trust, you can't do anything about it. This makes an irrevocable trust a serious decision that has the potential of negative consequences.

What is a revocable trust?

A revocable trust is one that you can change or revoke. While this type of trust can help your loved ones to avoid probate after you pass away, it doesn't fully protect your assets from creditors. It does make it more difficult for creditors to stake a claim on the assets, but it doesn't make it impossible. This type of trust usually moves to an irrevocable trust when you pass away.

There are several other less common types of trusts that might help you in your estate plan. Discussing your goals and learning about the different types of trusts might help you to make a choice about how to handle your assets.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Trusts," accessed Aug. 13, 2015

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