When planning for the future, you have many options and strategies to safeguard your assets and ensure they're distributed according to your wishes. Irrevocable trusts can be an excellent tool for high-income individuals to shield their wealth from estate taxes, creditors, and legal judgments.  

Unlike revocable trusts, which can be modified or revoked at any time, irrevocable trusts require you to transfer control of your assets to the named trustee immediately. While this might sound restrictive, the benefits can be substantial. By transferring your assets into an irrevocable trust, you effectively remove them from your estate, which can reduce estate taxes significantly. 

The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC helps California clients set up irrevocable trusts to provide peace of mind and robust protection against potential financial threats. Their irrevocable trust attorney is experienced in creating various types of irrevocable trusts tailored to meet your specific needs and objectives.  

Whether you're concerned about protecting your assets from potential lawsuits, minimizing your taxable estate, or setting up a trust that meets the needs of a beneficiary with special circumstances, they're here to guide you through the process. 




There are several types of irrevocable trusts, each designed to serve unique purposes and provide specific benefits.  

Understanding the different options available can help you make an informed decision on the best trust structure to suit your particular needs and goals. Below is a list of the options available to California residents: 

  • Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT): A CRT involves gifting cash or other property to an irrevocable trust. The trustee manages these assets and makes payments to you or other beneficiaries. Once the trust term ends, the remaining assets are donated to one or more charities. 

  • Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT): CRUTs provide steady income streams for donors and help avoid capital gains tax. This method is popular among wealthy individuals for donating to universities or colleges while reducing tax liability. 

  • Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT): A CLT lets you give cash or property to an irrevocable trust, which provides an income stream to a designated charity for a specific period. Depending on the trust's structure, the donor may receive gift, income, or estate tax deductions for the donated assets. 

  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT): A GRAT is used in estate planning to minimize tax on large financial gifts. An irrevocable trust is created for a specified term, and the trust creator sets a gift value. An annuity payment is made annually, and after the trust expires, the beneficiaries receive the assets free of tax. 

  • Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT): A QPRT is a specific type of irrevocable trust that removes personal property from one's estate to reduce gift tax. This can also be reduced with a unified credit. 

  • Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust (QTIP): A QTIP trust enables a spouse to gift a life estate without federal gift tax. The recipient spouse has an income right in the trust but cannot appoint the principal. 

  • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT): An IDGT is an estate-planning tool used to freeze assets for estate tax purposes temporarily, but not for income tax. The trustor continues to pay income tax on the trust assets, although income tax laws do not recognize the assets as being transferred away. 

  • Special Needs Trust (SNT) and Third-Party SNT: An SNT is a legal arrangement that allows someone with a chronic illness or physical disability to receive income without affecting their eligibility for public assistance benefits like Social Security or Supplemental Security Income. 

  • Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT): A SLAT is an irrevocable trust where one spouse makes a gift into a trust for the benefit of the other spouse and possibly other family members, thus removing assets from their combined estates. 

  • Dynasty Trust / Legacy Trust: A dynasty trust is used to pass wealth from generation to generation without incurring transfer taxes, such as gift tax or generation-skipping tax (GSTT), if assets remain in the trust. Its distinctive feature is its long duration. 

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT): An ILIT is an irrevocable trust that cannot be rescinded. Once the grantor contributes property or life insurance death benefits to the trust, the terms cannot be changed, nor can the grantor reclaim any properties. 


When considering the establishment of an irrevocable trust, it is essential to be aware of certain limitations. One of the primary restrictions is the grantor's inability to alter or terminate the trust once it has been set up. This irrevocability means that decisions regarding the trust's terms, beneficiaries, and assets are permanent.  

Also, the transfer of assets to the trust may come with gift tax implications depending on the value and nature of the assets transferred. It’s also important to recognize that while irrevocable trusts can offer protection from creditors and legal judgments, they may also limit the grantor's access to the assets, potentially requiring careful financial planning and consideration.  

When establishing an irrevocable trust, it's also important to understand which assets can be included and which cannot, as this will impact both the level of protection the trust offers and its effectiveness in meeting your estate planning goals. 


  1. Real estate: Residential properties, commercial buildings, and parcels of land can be transferred into an irrevocable trust. Doing so can protect these valuable assets from creditors and potential legal judgments. 

  1. Cash and bank accounts: Money held in savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit can be transferred to an irrevocable trust, providing liquidity and meeting the grantor's financial goals. 

  1. Investment accounts: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles can be placed into an irrevocable trust to manage and grow wealth while minimizing estate tax liabilities. 

  1. Life insurance policies: An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) can hold life insurance policies, removing the death benefit from the grantor's taxable estate and providing for beneficiaries. 

  1. Business interests: Ownership shares in closely held businesses, such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership, can be placed into an irrevocable trust to ensure the business's continuity and protect against estate taxes. 

  1. Collectibles and personal property: Valuable personal assets such as artwork, antiques, jewelry, and other high-value items can be included to protect their worth and ensure their proper distribution. 


  1. Retirement accounts: IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-advantaged retirement accounts cannot be directly transferred into an irrevocable trust due to IRS regulations. However, distributions from these accounts can be transferred to the trust. 

  1. Certain legal claims: Personal injury settlements or pending lawsuits cannot be placed into the trust until they are converted into a receivable asset, such as cash or a structured settlement. 

  1. Social Security benefits: Direct deposit of social security benefits to an irrevocable trust account is not allowed. Beneficiaries must receive these funds personally. 

  1. Indebted properties: Properties with outstanding mortgages or liens need careful consideration, as transferring them can trigger due-on-sale clauses or other complications with lenders. 

  1. Items with restrictions on transfer: Certain assets may be subject to contractual or regulatory transfer restrictions that prevent them from being placed into a trust. 

Grasping these distinctions and limitations is key for establishing an irrevocable trust that optimizes asset protection and meets your estate planning goals. Consulting with an experienced attorney ensures legal compliance and mitigates potential complications.  


The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC, will work closely with you to understand your financial situation and personal goals. Their estate planning attorney provides tailored advice to ensure your combination of trusts and estate planning documents best serves your interests and those of your loved ones. 

The firm is committed to providing skilled legal representation to clients in Redlands, Palm Springs, Rancho Cucamonga, and Riverside, California. If you're interested in exploring how an irrevocable trust can benefit your estate planning strategy, do not hesitate to reach out for a consultation. 


Setting up an irrevocable trust can be an invaluable step in securing your financial future and protecting your legacy. Contact The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you with all your estate planning needs. Their team is here to provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your assets will be managed and distributed according to your wishes.