HOW IRREVOCABLE TRUSTS CAN HELP PROTECT ASSETS
An Irrevocable Trust is one of the most powerful tools available for protecting your hard-earned assets. As an important part of many Florida Estate Plans, an Irrevocable Trust is a valuable asset protection tool in planning for government benefits, such as Medicaid and Veterans Benefits. We help clients in Orlando, Winter Park, and throughout Central Florida craft Irrevocable Trusts designed to meet their needs.
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Irrevocable Trust FAQs
Can an Irrevocable Trust be changed?
As the name implies, these Trusts generally cannot be modified or terminated once they have been established. However, you can name a Trust Protector or a Trust Advisor who can have the power to make certain changes to the trust if there are changes in the law, and to make certain other changes without petitioning a Court for permission to do so.
Who owns the assets in an Irrevocable Trust?
As the Grantor, when you transfer your assets into the Trust, you give up your rights of ownership to the assets. The Trust becomes a written agreement between you and the Trustee—the person you name to manage the assets in the Trust. The assets are owned by the Trustee who will have the legal authority to distribute the assets during your lifetime to the beneficiaries you designate when you design your Trust.
What are the benefits of an Irrevocable Trust?
Florida Irrevocable Trusts can be customized and written to accomplish a wide variety of objectives and goals, including:
- Allowing a disabled person to have an unlimited amount of assets held in a Special Needs Trust for his or her benefit, without inhibiting qualification for certain governmental benefits
- Avoiding Guardianship in the event you become physically or cognitively impaired, and are unable to make financial decisions for yourself in the future
- Passing your assets to beneficiaries without requiring probate
- Providing for children for a specific purpose
- Making a gift of your property to the Trust’s beneficiaries
- Protecting your assets from creditor claims
- Protecting your children’s inheritance from creditors, predators, and even themselves
- Estate tax shelters
How does an Irrevocable Trust protect assets?
Most Floridians do not have enough assets to pay for the skyrocketing cost of long-term care, nor do they have long-term care insurance to cover the cost of care. A properly written Irrevocable Trust is a very effective way to preserve your money, investments, and other assets from “Medicaid spend down.”
In an Irrevocable Trust, five years after the assets are put into the trust, the assets are not available to be used for paying nursing home or assisted living expenses because the Grantor of the Trust does not have access to or control of the assets. Unlike a Revocable Trust, an Irrevocable Trust in Florida complies with all federal and state Medicaid eligibility requirements. It is a sound legal strategy that protects many of your hard-earned assets from being wiped out by the costs associated with nursing home care, while ensuring you can obtain the financial help you need from Medicaid.
Can I set up an Irrevocable Trust myself?
This is not recommended, because it’s vital that the language of the Irrevocable Trust agreement be exact. Because it can’t be revoked in most cases, the Trust must be properly written the first time around. Thoughtful planning and careful drafting are necessary to legally ensure that your goals are met.
The Flammia Elder Law Firm can help you analyze your greatest concerns and draft your Estate Plan to ensure your family’s financial future is safely guarded.