Can the Irrevocable Living Trust Trustee be the same person as the Trustor? 15 Answers as of November 22, 2013

Also can the Trustor be named a beneficiary? I was going to do a do it yourself irrevocable living trust but had a few questions. Can trustor be one of the beneficiaries and can trustor also be trustee?

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Law Office of William Stoddard | William Stoddard
Yes, but the trust has to have a means to have there be a successor trustee when the trustor is not longer able to function or is dead.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/22/2013
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
Please, get help from a good estate planning lawyer. There is almost no case where an irrevocable trust is really a good idea. In almost all cases, only the very rich use irrevocable trusts, and they have lots of lawyers work on them. Whether you do it at all, and who should be trustee, and who are permissible as beneficiaries, are all questions with crucial legal and tax ramifications that can't be answered on a website, but are part of a carefully considered plan with specific goals. It will cost you and your beneficiaries a LOT more in legal fees and taxes to sort out the mess you're on the road to making than it will cost to have good estate planning done in the first place.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/21/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
In Nevada they can be a trustee, but they cannot be the sole trustee.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/21/2013
Horn & Johnsen SC
Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
In most situations, in order to accomplish the objectives of the Irrevocable Trust, the Trustor should not be the same person as the Trustee. Further, the Trustor should have extremely limited rights within the Irrevocable Trust. An irrevocable trust is a complicated estate planning tool and should be used with extreme caution. I would strongly encourage you to contact a qualified estate planning attorney to advise and assist you. In fact, even Nolo discourages attempting to draft an irrevocable trust without an attorney: "Most irrevocable trusts require skilled drafting by an experienced attorney." For additional information, see http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/irrevocable-living-trusts.html.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 11/21/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Have you thought about do-it-yourself brain surgery? A simple 'statutory' will, perhaps. A trust, no. Especially an irrevocable trust!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/20/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You are strongly advised to obtain the services of a probate/estate planning attorney, to answer your many questions; be careful about doing an irrevocable living trust, because once established, then it takes a court order to revoke or amend should you change your mind about some provision. A revocable trust is the better way to go.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It sounds like you are mixing things up. If you are talking about an irrevocable trust, then no, the grantor should not be the trustee. One of the purposes behind an irrevocable trust is to typical get assets OUT of the grantor's estate, for various reasons. Having the grantor as a trustee (or beneficiary) would defeat that purpose. A trust is a relatively complex estate planning tool. If not done properly, it will not achieve your objectives. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right, which means using an attorney. When you skimp on estate planning, it is likely to cost both you AND your beneficiaries.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Yes, to both questions.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    The Trustor can be the Trustee of an Irrevocable Trust as well as a beneficiary. Usually, a living trust is a revocable trust, not an irrevocable trust. There are many traps in this area, both accounting, tax, and legal. I sure would not suggest you attempt to do this yourself. With that in mind, if you are intending to create an irrevocable trust, usually that means that you are making a gift to the trustee of the trust for the benefit of 3rd parties, not yourself. In making that gift, you need to know the values of the assets being gifted, and a gift tax return is usually required. One of the goals of an irrevocable trust is to remove the assets from your estate and not have them a part of your gross estate for estate tax purposes. Another goal may be to avoid creditors getting to those assets in the irrevocable trust. Sometimes, an irrevocable trust is intended to be defective for income tax purposes and sometimes for estate tax purposes. It depends on the goals set up from an overall estate planning perspective. You have not said much in your question as to what your goals are. As a result, my best advice to you is to use a professional who knows what they are doing to consult with you about your goals and what choices there are to achieve those goals. You will find that hiring the right person will be inexpensive as compared to making mistakes in this arena. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    I urge you to seek legal counsel. An irrevocable trust is just that, irrevocable, unchangeable. You should not try to do it yourself. Seek professional help. Do not be penny-wise and dollar foolish. Once cannot begin to address the possible issues in a forum such as this. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    They can be, but I strongly recommend that you get an attorney to draft the trust for you and you discuss any tax issues with your accountant. In Idaho, a trust is usually not worth using if all you want to do is avoid probate. Unlike other states, e.g. California, the attorneys are paid an hourly rate, not a percentage of the estate, so you are not really avoiding anything by creating the trust. Also, you have to be careful to make sure the trust owns everything. If you do not do that right, your estate may end up in probate anyway. Finally, there is no estate tax in Idaho and the Federal estate tax only goes into effect if the estate is worth more that $5.25 million ($10.5 million for a married couple). If you have that much money, you can afford to have it done right.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Yes to both questions.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    The creator cannot be the trustee but can be the beneficiary. If the creator has control it is not a true irrevocable trust for tax and credit protection purposes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Geoff Germane, Attorney at Law | Geoff Germane
    The real question is what you hope to achieve with the irrevocable trust. A trustor can be a beneficiary and a trustee, but doing this has huge consequences on the tax effect and creditor protection of the trust. If you are hoping to protect assets from creditors or trying to do estate tax planning, you'll need to work with an experienced and knowledgeable asset protection attorney. Such an attorney can also help you build enough flexibility into the irrevocable trust to be able to change it without going to court or getting the consent of all beneficiaries later. This is a dangerous area for self-help.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/20/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You are begging for trouble doing this yourself. If you are confused with this you are certainly not able to do the rest. Go to an attorney and explain what your want to accomplish.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/20/2013
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