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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Nashville Attorney Experienced in Complex Estate Planning Matters

Estate planning is not a “one size fits all” situation. Each person’s case is unique, presenting its own set of circumstances that must be considered and addressed in determining the appropriate legal tools to carry out their wishes. Marital status, relationships with children, business ownership, and other factors may all affect one’s estate plan. Accomplished Nashville estate planning lawyer Randy Ratliff is experienced in drafting and administering many different estate planning documents, including wills, health care proxies, and revocable and irrevocable trusts.

While wills do not come into play until the testator’s death, and health care proxies are not typically used until the grantor becomes incapacitated, some types of trusts become effective immediately upon signing. In contrast with testamentary trusts (trusts contained in wills, usually for the protection of financially immature or minor beneficiaries), an inter vivos trust is a transfer of assets made during the lifetime of the trustor. While the name may sound strange, an inter vivos trust is simply a fiduciary relationship created while the trustor is still living. Sometimes known as a “living trust,” an inter vivos trust has a duration that is determined by the trust document. It may be revocable or irrevocable in nature.

Revocable or Irrevocable Trusts May Protect Your Wishes

A revocable living trust is, as the name suggests, a trust that may be revoked by the grantor during their lifetime. If any circumstances change, the trustor has the option of changing the terms of the trust or revoking it entirely. Revocable trusts often help avoid the costs and potential complications of probate and may even be helpful in protecting against creditors and taxes in some situations. Unlike wills, which must be probated in order for their terms to be carried out, trusts remain private documents and do not typically become public record, even after the grantor’s death.

Once the trust becomes effective, the trustee administers the property that the trustor places into the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust. The trustor may name themselves as the trustor of a revocable living trust or may opt to call upon the services of a third party. As long as the trust exists, the assets belonging to it should be titled in the name of the trust, rather than in the name of the trustor or trustee.

On the other hand, irrevocable trusts are permanent. They may not be “taken back” or changed once they are finalized. Such trusts also help the trustor avoid probate, and they may be effective in transferring wealth to family members or others, protecting assets, and reducing taxes. There are several different types of irrevocable living trusts, including bypass trusts (usually used to reduce the tax burden on a surviving spouse’s future estate), QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, charitable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, life insurance trusts, grantor-retained interest trusts, spendthrift trusts, and special needs trusts.

Seek Assistance from a Resourceful and Knowledgeable Lawyer in Nashville

While the idea of a trust is relatively simple, the process of devising a revocable or irrevocable trust for a certain situation is a matter that requires a considerable amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Nashville attorney Randy Ratliff can help you decide which option may work for your family’s situation if you are considering a trust document as part of your estate plan. He serves clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties and can be reached for an appointment online or at 615-656-8282. Our firm also helps people who need a business succession planning lawyer or assistance with other estate planning matters in communities such as Brentwood, Cool Springs, Madison, Franklin, Antioch, Hermitage, Goodlettsville, and Joelton. We understand that discussing matters such as end-of-life planning and family businesses may be difficult, but we are here to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible so that you can have the assurance that your family’s financial future is protected.