The Informed Investor

How to Use Trusts in Estate Planning

Investment Counsel Company

March 27, 2024

A living trust, or a revocable or family trust, can provide invaluable benefits for you as the trustor and your beneficiaries. It’s widely regarded as a must-have in a comprehensive estate plan. In certain situations, an irrevocable trust may also offer benefits, particularly for high-net-worth individuals. This article will focus on how and why you should consider adding a revocable trust to your estate plan.

What is a Revocable Trust?

A revocable, living, or family trust is a legally formed entity to which you will transfer ownership of assets while you’re alive. A living trust is entirely revocable until you pass away. At that point, the trust becomes irrevocable. Revocable trusts are created as part of an estate plan with specific goals. A living trust will spare your beneficiaries the probate process. A living trust will keep your information private, whereas a will becomes a public record. Living trusts also often allow beneficiaries to receive their inheritance without delay. Moreover, revocable trusts are harder to challenge in court than a will. Finally, a living trust safeguards your assets if you become incapacitated.

Reasons to Include a Living Trust in Your Estate Plan

When you create a family trust, you decide who will serve as your trustee. They will be responsible for seeing your assets distributed according to your wishes. The court will not be responsible for dividing your assets after you die. This also prevents your loved ones from having to pay for court costs and fees associated with probate, which can be a costly and lengthy process.

Living trusts also offer extraordinary flexibility. They can be revoked or modified at any time before your death. As the grantor, you remain in complete control of your assets until death.

A revocable trust also allows you to create highly specific allocations and instructions for your assets upon your death. For example, if you do not wish for children, grandchildren, or others to inherit large sums of money before they reach a certain age, you may stipulate that in the trust. Likewise, you may establish educational requirements for beneficiaries to receive their portion of your estate.

What To Include in a Living Trust

A wide variety of assets can be placed into a revocable trust in Nevada. Exceptions include accounts with named beneficiaries such as IRAs, 401ks, and HSAs. Nearly all other assets may be placed in the trust, including:

  • Bonds & Annuities
  • Savings and Checking Accounts
  • Real Estate
  • Stock Certificates
  • Art, Jewelry, Musical Instruments, and Other High-Value Items
  • Mutual Funds
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Non-Retirement Brokerage Accounts
  • Partnership Businesses
  • LLCs
  • Certificates of Deposit

Most people with significant assets, heirs or charitable objectives will benefit from having a revocable trust in addition to a last will and testament. However, for some individuals, other trusts, such as a domestic asset protection trust, dynastic trust, or an irrevocable trust may offer greater benefits. Consult with your attorney and your financial advisor.

Schedule a Consultation or Call

The Investment Counsel Company of Nevada (ICC) provides collaborative financial planning services including retirement planning and tax planning,  in coordination with your estate planning attorney and accountant. Let us help you solidify your legacy with prudent planning for your loved ones’  futures, charitable giving, and strategies to help you achieve all that is important to you.

If you have $5 million or more of investable assets, please visit our website:  or call us at 702-871-8510 to learn more about how we can help you achieve all that is important to you and your family.



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