One popular misconception concerning estate planning is that any trust will protect an individual’s assets from creditors. However, as a recent article explains, this is not true. If you are considering incorporating a trust into your estate plan as an asset protection tool, it is important to understand which trusts will actually provide asset protection.
As the title suggests, a revocable living trust will not protect trust assets from creditors. The primary purpose of these trusts is preserve privacy & ease the transfer of wealth by keeping a person’s assets out of probate, which often saves a family time and money. If you have a revocable living trust, it is important to realize that creditors can reach the assets within that trust. This is because you never fully relinquish control of your assets in a revocable trust so you are still considered the legal owner.
If you are interested in incorporating a level of asset protection into your estate plan, consider using an irrevocable trust, or in some cases, as Family Limited Partnership (FLP) or Family Limited Liability Company (FLLC). In contrast to a revocable living trust, an irrevocable trust, FLP and FLLC will protect your assets from creditors. This is because the trust or entity creator is not considered the owner of the assets held in the trust or entity. The trade off, however, is that you may relinquish direct total control of the assets placed in the trust (although, if done right, you may still exercise indirect control.)