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Is It Better to Have a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?

Having a trust as part of your estate plan can effectively protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. However, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether you should establish a revocable or irrevocable trust. Both types of trusts have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to understand their differences before deciding which you need.

What Is a Revocable Trust? 

A revocable trust is an estate planning tool that allows an individual, called a grantor, to retain control over their assets while alive and decide who will receive them after they die. With a revocable trust, the grantor can change the terms of the trust at any time while they are still alive.

In a revocable trust, the grantor typically serves as the trustee so they can retain control over its assets and how they are managed. The grantor can also name a successor trustee who will manage the trust’s assets in the event of their incapacitation or death.

The grantor can also designate beneficiaries or those who will inherit the trust’s assets upon the grantor’s death. Depending on the provisions in the trust document, the beneficiaries may only have access to the trust’s assets after the grantor has passed away.

One of the key advantages of setting up a revocable trust is that it allows for flexibility. The grantor can use the assets in the trust as they wish, change the terms of the trust, and appoint new trustees and beneficiaries as needed. This type of trust also allows the grantor to avoid probate court, as the trust’s assets will not be subject to probate proceedings after the grantor passes away.

What Is an Irrevocable Trust? 

In an irrevocable trust, the grantor contributes assets to the trust, and the trustee manages and distributes those assets according to the grantor’s wishes. With an irrevocable trust, the grantor gives up all control over the trust assets and any rights to revoke or modify the trust in any way. Because of this, the trust cannot be changed or terminated without the beneficiary’s consent once the grantor establishes the irrevocable trust.

Some of the advantages of an irrevocable trust are that it offers more tax advantages than a revocable trust, can protect assets from creditors, and can help a beneficiary qualify for government benefits. Since the grantor no longer owns the trust assets and is not considered the owner for tax purposes, they are exempt from probate. Because the grantor has no control over the trust assets, they are not vulnerable to creditors’ claims.

Although there are many benefits to setting up an irrevocable trust, there are also some drawbacks. For example, once established, changing the trust can be difficult or impossible. Additionally, the trust assets will be managed and distributed according to the directives in the trust document, so the grantor loses control over the trust assets. Finally, there may be significant costs associated with establishing and maintaining an irrevocable trust.

Which One Is Right for You?

Deciding between a revocable and irrevocable trust requires taking the needs of the person creating the trust into account. A revocable trust can be changed or even terminated at any time by the grantor, whereas an irrevocable trust cannot be modified or canceled after it is created without difficulty.

A revocable trust allows for the grantor to retain complete control of the assets within it and can serve estate planning purposes, such as avoiding probate. Irrevocable trusts provide more asset protection since they are not accessible by creditors or others making claims against the grantor’s estate.

Irrevocable trusts are also helpful in providing long-term care options, such as financial support to a disabled beneficiary or allowing a beneficiary to access income or assets from the trust in certain circumstances. When considering which type of trust is right for you, consider your short-term and long-term goals, financial situation, and other relevant factors.

Speak with a Dallas Estate Planning Lawyer  

The best way to determine whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is the right choice is to consult a qualified estate planning attorney. At Staubus and Randall, our experienced Dallas estate planning lawyers understand the complexities of these trusts and can provide sound advice on which type of trust is best for your specific needs. We also offer comprehensive estate planning services to ensure that your wishes are met in the event of incapacity or death. Call us today or contact us online to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help protect your family’s future.


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.

Staubus & Randall Team

What Our Clients Say

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"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.”


"After my husband's death, I was devastated by having to defend against a vicious dispute over my husband's estate. Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus made me feel very comfortable in this distressing situation. They were very tough and did an excellent job for me in obtaining a summary judgment in my favor without a full jury trial. I was glad to have them and Diane Walker in my corner to help me achieve an excellent result - I won! If I ever had to go back to probate court, I would hire them again.” - (will and trust construction case)


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"As a professional money manager, I have used Ryan Randall's estate planning services both personally and for my clients. Ryan has exhibited three critical attributes in his work with me: (1) high intellectual capacity, (2) exceptional thoroughness, and (3) a total commitment to integrity. In today's litigious world, it can be quite costly not to "get things done right.” An added bonus to us was that we found one of the nicest people we could imagine.”


"I was represented by Keith Staubus as an income beneficiary in a lawsuit with the trustee of a family trust. Utilizing the expertise of a forensic accountant and his own trust expertise, Keith was able to negotiate a judicial modification of the trust providing for the buyout of my income interest for a substantial lump sum payment out of the trust, resulting in a win-win situation for all of the parties. I highly recommend Staubus/Randall for any trust disputes and trust modification actions."


"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."


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