Last updated on March 13th, 2019
Forming an Irrevocable Living Trust
An irrevocable living trust is a trust that is legally binding.
This means that once your trust is finalized, you are unable to change, revoke, or terminate the trust. An irrevocable living trust becomes active during your lifetime, and is unable to be cancelled once it is formed.
Upon formation of the trust documents, you must list the property of the trust. Additionally, you must designate a trustee, and name the beneficiaries of your irrevocable trust property. You must sign your trust document into effect, with legal notarization.
Transferring Property into an Irrevocable Trust
As stated, you must include a list of trust property in your initial trust documents. Untitled property is listed in the trust documents to be considered trust property. Titled property, such as a home or a car, must have the title ownership transferred to the trust. Failing to change the title ownership of trust property risks that property being deemed eligible for probate.
Once your property is transferred to the ownership of the trust, you are no longer considered the legal owner of the property. An irrevocable trust acts as a legal entity with ownership of all trust property included. Since the trust is irrevocable, you are not able to transfer property out of the trust’s ownership.
Adding Property to Your Irrevocable Trust
When you add property to your irrevocable trust, you are relinquishing ownership of the property. Therefore, you are unable to access that property for the remainder of your lifetime once the trust is in place.
However, you are able to contribute property to your irrevocable trust during your lifetime. Untitled property is added as an amendment to your asset list in order to include acquired property in your trust. Titled property is added by transferring title ownership to the trust, and listing the property as an amendment to your trust property list.
Remember, transferring property into an irrevocable trust is legally binding. Be wary of transferring property items that you do not own, such as a home you are still mortgaging or a car titled under someone else’s name.
Property that is not owned outright cannot be included in irrevocable trust property.
Inaccurately including property in your irrevocable trust risks creating questions that could further complicate probate proceedings, making accuracy critical to the protection of your trust’s assets.
Drafting an irrevocable living trust is complex, and the outcome is permanent. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney before establishing any form of irrevocable, legally-binding documents.
Schedule a consultation with our estate planning attorney to discuss the risks and rewards of an irrevocable living trust.