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Everything You Need To Know About an Irrevocable Trust

Planning what will happen to your estate when you are no longer around can feel overwhelming. Among the many challenges you may face is the question of what the tax implications of the transfer of assets might be for you or your heirs. Fortunately, an irrevocable trust is a useful tool that has significant tax benefits for both the creator and the beneficiaries of the trust.

As with most financial tools, irrevocable trusts have their drawbacks as well. Having a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of irrevocable trusts can help you make an informed decision as to whether they might be a useful part of your estate plan.

If you have pressing questions about Irrevocable Trusts, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced legal team at Staubus and Randall. We’re here to help.

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What Is an Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust removes taxable assets from the grantor’s estate and transfers them into a trust under the control of a trustee. When the trust is created, the grantor sets up specific conditions under which the assets should be distributed to the beneficiaries.

The key provision that gives an irrevocable trust its name is that once the grantor places an asset into an irrevocable trust, they are then unable to revoke the trust, remove the asset from the trust, or change the list of beneficiaries. In other words, except for in certain rare circumstances that generally require the approval of both the court and the beneficiaries, the grantor permanently loses any legal ownership claims to those assets as soon as the trust is created.

The inability to change an irrevocable trust is one of its main downsides. However, some people will find that the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks.

What Are the Benefits of an Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust offers many advantages when it comes to planning and distributing an estate. These include:

  • Taking advantage of the estate tax exemption – Once a property has been transferred to an irrevocable living trust, it is no longer included in the gross value of an estate. This can be particularly helpful for minimizing the tax liability of estates that are very large.
  • Spendthrift protections – The grantor of the trust can stipulate specific conditions for when and how the assets should be distributed. For example, a parent may decide that a child who is a beneficiary should not receive the assets until they have reached a certain age, so that the child does not misuse the money they inherit.
  • Protection against creditors – Courts generally rule that since beneficiaries are not capable of voluntarily transferring the future rights of the trust to another person, creditors should not be able to confiscate these assets.
  • Preserving income – An irrevocable trust allows the grantor to put assets into their trust while simultaneously retaining the income from those assets.
  • Protecting asset value – Appreciable assets that are placed into an irrevocable trust are removed from the estate while also giving beneficiaries a step-up basis for purposes of appraising the assets for tax purposes.
  • Transferring a home – An irrevocable trust allows you to gift a principal residence to your children under tax rules that are far more favorable to them.
  • Protecting life insurance proceeds – You can house a life insurance policy in an irrevocable trust as a way of removing the death proceeds from the estate.
  • Qualifying for government benefits – Placing a large proportion of your assets into an irrevocable trust can ensure that you are eligible for Social Security income and Medicaid for nursing home care. You can also set up an irrevocable trust for a special needs child in order to keep any assets they inherit from disqualifying them from government benefits.

While these benefits may make an irrevocable trust a great solution for your estate plan, it is important to recognize that setting up this type of trust is a complex process. For this reason, it is important to work with an estate planning attorney who has experience creating irrevocable trusts. You can have the peace of mind that your assets are being managed in a careful manner that is tailored to your family’s specific needs. Contact us today.

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Contact an Experienced Dallas Estate Planning Attorney

If you feel that an irrevocable trust is a good option for your estate planning needs, or if you have more questions about how they work, the seasoned Dallas estate planning attorneys of Staubus and Randall are here to help. Our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers have helped many clients create irrevocable trusts to ensure that their families can receive their assets without unreasonable tax burdens. Contact us today for a consultation, and we will let you know what all your estate planning options are. Call us now at 214-691-3411.

The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

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What Our Clients Say

"I have been a wealth management specialist and retirement plan consultant with the Dallas/Fort Worth financial community for over 20 years. I have engaged Ryan Randall to work with a number of my best clients over the years, including business owners, professionals and families. My clients always appreciate Ryan’s straightforward approach to estate planning, asset protection planning and business succession planning. He makes even the most sophisticated estate planning strategies understandable."


"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."


"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."


"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”


"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

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