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Revocable Vs. Irrevocable Trusts: What's Best For You In Georgia

Posted by Joel Beck | Apr 04, 2024 | 0 Comments

At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we understand that facing Georgia's estate planning landscape can feel daunting. Many of our clients ask us about the best ways to protect their assets and ensure their legacy is secure. One of the most common inquiries we receive is about the difference between revocable and irrevocable trusts and which one might be the best option for their unique situation. In the spirit of our approachable, friendly, and professional service, we're here to simplify these concepts and help you make informed decisions.

Understanding Trusts in Estate Planning

A trust is a legal entity created to hold assets for the benefit of specific individuals or entities, known as beneficiaries. The person who creates the trust is often referred to as the grantor. Trusts are a cornerstone of estate planning, offering flexibility, privacy, and control over the distribution of your assets.

Revocable Trusts Explained

Revocable trusts, also known as living trusts, are popular estate planning tools because of their flexibility. Key features include:

  • Flexibility: The grantor can alter or revoke the trust anytime during their lifetime. This means assets can be added or removed, and terms can be changed.

  • Avoiding Probate: Assets held in a revocable trust bypass the probate process, facilitating a smoother and faster transfer to beneficiaries upon the grantor's death.

  • Privacy: Unlike wills, which become public records through the probate process, revocable trusts maintain privacy by not being subject to public scrutiny.

Irrevocable Trusts Defined

Irrevocable trusts are trusts that, once established, cannot be altered or revoked by the grantor. While less flexible than revocable trusts, they offer distinct advantages:

  • Asset Protection: Assets transferred into an irrevocable trust are generally protected from creditors and legal judgments against the grantor.

  • Estate Tax Benefits: An irrevocable trust can help reduce estate tax liability by transferring assets out of the grantor's estate.

  • Medicaid Planning: Irrevocable trusts can be used in Medicaid planning to meet eligibility requirements for long-term care benefits.

Choosing Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Choosing between a revocable and an irrevocable trust depends on your needs and goals. Consider the following when deciding:

  • Control vs. Protection: If retaining control over your assets during your lifetime is important, a revocable trust might be the right choice. If protecting assets from creditors or reducing estate taxes is a priority, and you are comfortable with losing control and authority over the assets, an irrevocable trust could be more beneficial.

  • Estate Size and Complexity: Larger, more complex estates facing an estate tax situation may benefit from the advanced planning options of irrevocable trusts.

  • Future Medicaid Needs: If you or your spouse may need Medicaid assistance for long-term care, consider the benefits of an irrevocable trust in your planning.

Practical Advice for Georgians

When considering trusts in Georgia, keep these practical tips in mind:

  • Start Planning Early: The sooner you start estate planning, the more options you'll have to protect your assets and ensure your wishes are honored.

  • Consult a Professional: Trust laws can be complex, and making the best choice for your situation often requires the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

  • Regularly Review Your Estate Plan: Life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or a significant change in financial status should prompt a review of your estate plan, including any trusts.

How Peach State Wills & Trusts Can Help

At Peach State Wills & Trusts, our team is dedicated to providing friendly, approachable, and professional guidance through the estate planning process. We understand Georgians' unique needs and are here to help you face the choices available to protect your assets and legacy.

Contact Peach State Wills & Trusts at 678-344-5342 or online to learn how to plan for your future in Georgia today. If you have any questions about estate planning in Georgia, you can download our free guide here—no strings attached. 

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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