| Read Time: 4 minutes | Trusts
What Is an Irrevocable Trust

Trusts are a flexible tool that you can use to accomplish a vast array of estate planning goals. Often, people use a revocable trust so their estate can avoid probate court and excessive tax burdens. Revocable trusts also give their creators far more control over their assets than a will. One key trait of a revocable trust is that the person who sets one up usually retains control over their assets until they pass, and they can modify the trust as they see fit during their lifetime.

Sometimes, however, it can be more beneficial for someone to permanently relinquish control of their assets. For example, individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid can give up control of their property to reduce their assets and qualify. This scenario is where irrevocable trusts can be very useful.

An irrevocable trust is a form of trust that can not be revoked or modified without the permission of beneficiaries or through a court order. Essentially, the irrevocable trust takes ownership of your assets for the benefit of named beneficiaries. Since the trust can not be revoked, you do not have control over the assets, and they are shielded from certain creditors, including Medicaid. This protection makes irrevocable trusts particularly useful when planning for potential future nursing home care.

Important Things to Know About Irrevocable Trusts

It is critical to understand the advantages and disadvantages of irrevocable trusts before creating one. An experienced estate attorney at Robbins Estate Law can help you weigh the pros and cons and decide if an irrevocable trust is right for you.


There are three primary benefits of irrevocable trusts; asset protection, qualification for public programs, and tax benefits. Since you no longer own or control assets in an irrevocable trust, they can protect your property from certain creditors and lawsuit judgments. Further, an irrevocable trust can help you lower the amount of assets you own to qualify for public programs such as Medicaid. Finally, you can reduce your estate’s tax burden by placing certain assets in an irrevocable trust.


The main drawbacks to irrevocable trusts come from inflexibility once the assets are transferred. It is challenging to change an irrevocable trust after creating it. Because they are hard to change, you will need the foresight to predict the needs of your beneficiaries when you start the trust. 

Also, be sure to avoid adding assets to the trust that you might need for yourself in the future. If you need them later, they’ll be challenging to get back. Additionally, it is more challenging to manage assets within an irrevocable trust than a revocable one. The last drawback is that you likely cannot name yourself as a beneficiary of the trust if you want your assets protected from creditors.

Why Should I Get an Irrevocable Trust?

There are several scenarios for which an irrevocable trust might be the most advantageous estate planning tool for you. These scenarios include asset protection, Medicaid, special needs, and tax planning. 

Asset Protection

Attorneys and creditors will have difficulty going after assets you do not own. This protection makes irrevocable trusts a valuable tool for people who may face large debts in the future or those in professions that face a high risk of lawsuits. Landlords, physicians, accountants, and real estate agents can commonly benefit from asset protections of an irrevocable trust. It is also easy to protect assets from being used up too fast by beneficiaries. 

Medicaid Planning

Irrevocable trusts can be beneficial for Medicaid planning. Putting a house or other property in an irrevocable trust can lower the value of your assets, so you qualify for Medicaid. It can also protect the property from Medicaid nursing home debts. However, there are limits to how a person can use an irrevocable trust to avoid Medicaid costs. Hence, speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible is essential.

Special Needs Planning

Planning for the future of a loved one with special needs can be an extremely difficult task. Many individuals living with special needs rely on eligibility-based public programs. Leaving a large inheritance to someone with special needs can disrupt their eligibility for these programs and end up hurting them in the long run. Creating an irrevocable special needs trust is often the solution to this problem. A special needs trust can help you continuously provide for your loved one without disrupting their public program benefits.

Tax Planning

Under certain situations, an irrevocable trust can help high-net-worth individuals lower the tax burden on their estate and beneficiaries. Doing so involves careful planning and working with an experienced estate attorney.

Robbins Estate Law Can Help

At Robbins Estate Law, we know the importance of using estate planning to provide for ourselves and our loved ones in the future. If you are considering using an irrevocable trust as part of your estate plan, our firm can help. Our experienced estate attorneys will provide valuable advice as you weigh the pros and cons of each option at your disposal. Once you develop a plan, we will enact it in the most advantageous way possible. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Kyle Robbins

Kyle Robbins is the founder and sole owner of The Law
Offices of Kyle Robbins. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and his B.S. in Food Chemistry and Microbiology from Oklahoma State University.

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