There are multitudes of ways to organize your estate, and trusts are a powerful component of that. There are many things that trusts can do that wills cannot, and most estate planners benefit from making use of trusts.
The two varieties of a living trust are revocable and irrevocable. Depending on your needs, you may make use of one or both of these varieties. You cannot make any changes to an irrevocable trust after you create it, while you can modify revocable trusts until your death or incapacity.
Why can I not change an irrevocable trust?
Key to an irrevocable trust is that, once you create it, the assets inside of the trust no longer belong to you. This is why you do not have the right to modify an irrevocable trust: the assets are not yours.
The primary benefit to an irrevocable trust is that, since the assets do not belong to you any longer, the government cannot apply estate tax to the assets inside. However, you would want to speak with an attorney before executing this option to make sure this is the right choice for you.
What are the benefits of a revocable trust?
The primary benefit to a revocable trust is that any assets inside of the trust will not go through the probate process. This means that your beneficiaries will have access to what you leave them much faster than with probate in most cases.
Anything that you place inside of a revocable trust still belongs to you until your death. This is why you can make as many changes to a revocable trust as you like.
Depending on your estate and situation, revocable and irrevocable trusts are powerful estate planning tools. Making good use of them can save a lot of time and money.