Can I Amend An Irrevocable Trust?
Yes, and no. Unfortunately, this is a question that calls for a “lawyer answer” because you can amend your irrevocable trust to the extent that a trust says that you can amend it. Therefore, if you want to have the right to leave the trust assets to a different child, a different charity, or to your church, then you should put that flexibility into the trust at the time of creation. On the other hand, if you decide that you want to give part of the money to yourself or use part of the money to pay your credit cards that will be seen as a violation of the trust agreement such that it will remove your asset protection. If you have the right to give those trust assets to yourself, or use them to pay your creditors, then the court, Medicaid, and your creditors are probably going to be found to have that right as well under appropriate circumstances. Therefore, the answer is yes, you can amend your irrevocable trust in some ways and no, you cannot amend it in other ways.
How Much Can I Transfer Into My Irrevocable Trust Without Causing Gift Taxes?
There are different kinds of irrevocable trusts and the gift tax implications of each one is different. For example, I commonly draft irrevocable grantor trusts into which there is no limit for your transfers and there won’t be no need for a gift tax return. Other types of irrevocable trust agreements will require a gift tax return at relatively low values (currently under $20,000). Even if a gift tax return is required, it is rare that there will be any gift taxes imposed as you can transfer away a great deal of money without paying any gift taxes.
Can I Make Additions To The Irrevocable Trust In Future Years?
The answers is yes but there may be important implications to be considered. Almost any time you ask a legal question, the answer will not be hard and fast and without caveats. This is another such situation. You may continue to make contributions to your irrevocable trust but the timings of those contributions in relationship to your incapacity, your need for nursing care, the incidents such as lawsuits, can all make those additions be subject to being set aside by the courts or cause you to be disqualified for assistance from Medicaid. Therefore, yes you can make additions, but there is likely to come a time when it will no longer be wise and reasonable to make additions. That timing can only be identified through careful consultation with your estate planning counsel after he or she has received all of the information necessary concerning your life situation and knowable future needs.
How Do I Get Started Setting Up An Irrevocable Trust?
I would suggest that your first step should be to attend my estate planning workshop. In this workshop you get two free hours of my time and this saves you hundreds of dollars’ of legal fees in your learning process. I teach the workshop to small groups and in a setting where we can take questions. You will come away with the advantage of knowing a great deal more about the estate planning options and you will be better prepared to take advantage of the hour of free consultation time that will be available to you if you attend the workshop. You don’t need to do much homework prior to attending the workshop. Just come and listen and then once you have that base of understanding take some time to think on your goals and return to the office to discuss those goals and consider the best way to reach them considering all of your life circumstances.
For more information on Amending The Irrevocable Trust, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.
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