Home » Blog » Should You Have a Revocable Trust?
Should You Have a Revocable Trust?

Should You Have a Revocable Trust?

Troy Werner and his family

Written by Troy Werner

Troy Werner has been an indispensable asset to The Werner Law Firm since joining in 2009, providing exceptional legal service to its clients.

Get To Know Troy!
POSTED ON: December 27, 2023

There is a lot of confusion out there about the difference between a revocable and an irrevocable trust.

Trusts are part of many estate plans and with good reason. Trusts are an excellent way to minimize or avoid having an estate go through probate, according to a recent article, “Is your trust revocable? Should it be?” from Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press.

Let’s start with the basics. A trust is a contract between the creator of the trust, known as the “grantor,” “trustor,” or “settlor,” and the person who will carry out the instructions within the trust document, known as the “trustee.” Those instructions include what to do or not to do with the assets in the trust if the grantor becomes incapacitated and what to do with the assets when the grantor is deceased.

Once you’ve decided to set up a trust, you’ll become the trust's grantor and, in most cases, will serve as your own trustee. The trust must include language naming secondary and, in some cases, tertiary trustees who will serve if you are incapacitated or upon your death. The trustee who steps up to serve once you cannot serve as your own trustee is known as the “successor trustee” although the term “successor” isn’t always used.

In a revocable trust, the grantor almost always has the right to change the trust document if they are living and not incapacitated. They can change who will get what from the trust upon their death, who will serve as the secondary trustee, and what powers the secondary trustee will have. This flexibility is very useful as life circumstances and relationships change over time. As the name implies, the revocable trust can also be revoked altogether.

An irrevocable trust is very different. Once an irrevocable trust is established, the trust cannot be revoked, and no changes can be made. There are exceptions. However, none of them make it easy to make changes to the trust. The grantor usually must go to court to get permission to make changes.

Why would someone choose an irrevocable trust over a revocable trust? There are instances where an irrevocable trust makes more sense. Some examples include trusts designed to protect assets that would otherwise make someone ineligible for certain programs, like Medicaid. An estate planning attorney would create an irrevocable trust to establish a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust for beneficiaries with disabilities.

It is also possible to have trusts created for married couples with children from prior relationships to protect the children from being disinherited.

Revocable trusts usually become irrevocable once the trust's grantor dies. This makes sense since the grantor doesn’t want anyone to change the trust once they have passed.

There’s much to consider when setting up a trust, which is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Talk with your estate planning attorney to discuss your unique situation and learn what type of trust would best protect yourself, your estate, and your family.

If you need help setting up a trust, or if you intend to set up your estate plan but don't know where to start, we are here to help! Contact The Werner Law Firm probate attorneys in Los Angeles for a free consultation.

If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.

You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.

Reference: Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press (Dec. 3, 2023) “Is your trust revocable? Should it be?”

Share This Post

Why Our Living Trust Law Firm & Probate Attorneys?

Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.

Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.

Our goal is to make your case as easy as possible for you. Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. From the moment you contact our firm, through the final resolution of your case, our goal is to make the process easy and understandable. We cannot change the fact that probate is a long and complicated process, but through our Werner Law Firm Difference, we strive to go out of our way to keep you informed of your case through every step of the way. We are constantly refining our processes and procedures for a more streamlined and calm client experience. Our goal is to have you feel like a burden was lifted from your shoulders, and that we made the whole process an easy one

If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.

Book an Initial Call Now

Join Our eNewsletter and our California Estate Planning and Probate Blog Digest

Werner Law Firm logo
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. See full disclaimer here.
Santa Clarita, CA Office

27433 Tourney Rd, Suite 200
Santa Clarita, California 91355

Los Angeles, CA Office

445 S. Figueroa St., Suite 3100
Los Angeles, California 90071

Bakersfield, CA Office

4900 California Ave, Tower B-210
Bakersfield, California 93309

Newport Beach, CA Office

23 Corporate Plaza Dr., Suite 150
Newport Beach, California 92660

Lancaster, CA Office

626 W Lancaster Blvd.,
Lancaster, California 93534

Pasadena, CA Office

35 North Lake Avenue, Suite 710
Pasadena, California 91101

Simi Valley, CA Office

2655 First St, Suite 250
Simi Valley, CA Office, California 93065

Encino, CA Office

15760 Ventura Blvd, Suite 700
Encino, California 91436

Oxnard, CA Office

300 E Esplanade Dr., 9th Floor
Oxnard, California 93036

Santa Barbara, CA Office

7 W. Figueroa St., Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93101

IMS - Estate Planning and Elder Law Practice Growth Advisors
Powered by