Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust

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Trusts are an incredibly important part of your estate planning arsenal if you choose the right option for your situation. A trust document lets you transfer ownership of property to a legal trust, managed by a trustee. The trustee manages that property for the benefit of others, or even yourself. You may be your own trustee, appoint another person, and even create contingency plans that account for your future.

At Kondori & Moorad, LLP, our experienced estate planning attorneys explain the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts. We can help you understand which option is best for your unique circumstances.


To understand the differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts, you first need the answer to another question: “What is a trust?” A trust is a legal entity formed under state law with its own ownership powers and legal rights, much like an individual person or a business entity.

The person adding assets to a trust is known as the “trustor” or “settlor.” This person transfers assets to the trust and puts them under the control of a person called a “trustee.” A trustee is the person with the control over the trust, its property, and its ownership powers. Persons you can name as a trustee include, but are not limited to:

  • Yourself
  • A family member
  • An attorney
  • A business entity
  • Any competent adult

The trust is designed to benefit some third party, called the “beneficiary.” Depending on the type of trust, the beneficiary can be yourself or some other third party. It might be for a singular beneficiary or for many, such as those that benefit your children. Trusts are powerful estate planning tools that often avoid tax issues, probate, and much more.


A revocable trust may be changed at any time during the trustor’s lifetime, and while they remain legally competent to do so. This even includes the right to dissolve the trust, change its beneficiaries, and transfer assets when you desire. A revocable trust is often referred to as a “living trust” as well.

Revocable trusts give you a great deal of flexibility and control over your assets. You can typically buy, transfer, or sell property from the trust at your own discretion. However, because of their revocable nature, they may not grant asset protections from creditors or certain taxes upon the trustor’s death. Each state’s law is different and you should consult your estate planning lawyer to learn if a revocable trust is right for you.


An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it is established. Changes after its establishment are rare. They usually require 100% approval by the beneficiaries and court intervention. The exact rules for this depend on your state’s unique laws.

An irrevocable trust is established by a written trust agreement. Once established, the trust’s creator cannot revoke it or change it under most circumstances. While much less flexible than a revocable trust, irrevocable trusts are often used to:

  • Minimize or eliminate estate taxes (where applicable)
  • Access government benefits like Medicaid while protecting estate assets
  • Limit creditor access to assets in particular situations
  • Create a charitable trust


There are many differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts that can benefit you and your family. These trusts may help you avoid probate, save money, and protect vulnerable family members. This process is complex, but a qualified estate planning attorney can help you pick the option that is right for you.

At the law firm of Kondori & Moorad, we stand ready to assist you in the estate planning process. Our team can help you make the right decision and get the full advantages of a revocable or irrevocable trust. Contact us today to get started.

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