An irrevocable trust has all the requirements of a revocable trust and requires language that shows intent of irrevocability. As many different types of irrevocable trusts exist, those considering creating a trust should consult an estate attorney.
Private Trust Requirements
Any private trust has several legal elements. The trust must have a "res," or property that will fund the trust. The trust also requires three parties, although one individual may fulfill multiple roles: a creator, or "settlor," of the trust, a trustee, who will manage and administer the assets in the trust, and a beneficiary, who receives benefits and distributions from the trust. The trust must be placed in writing and signed by the settlor.
Unlike a revocable trust, which allows the settlor to revoke the trust at any time before his death, an irrevocable trust generally cannot be revoked unless all parties to the trust agree to revocation. However, upon the settlor's death, the trust becomes truly irrevocable.
In many jurisdictions, trusts with no language to the contrary are considered irrevocable by default. However, some states require explicit language in the trust that shows that the settlor intended the trust to continue indefinitely without modification.
- "Wills, Trusts and Estates (Seventh Edition)"; Jesse Dukeminier, Robert H. Sitkoff, James M. Lindgren and Stanley M. Johanson; Aspen Publishers; 2005
- The Money Alert: Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts
- Washington State Bar Association: Trusts
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Retirement Topics — Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)." Accessed Aug. 6, 2020.
Erika Johansen is a lifelong writer with a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and editorial experience in scholastic publication. She has written articles for various websites.