What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a revocable trust?

Advantages

  • You retain control over your assets.
  • If you are not your own trustee, you observe the trustee in action handling your assets.
  • You avoid probate and the trust can be used to avoid an ancillary probate of property in another state.
  • You avoid the attendant publicity of probate, although now the beneficiaries do receive notice of the existence of the trust — and their right to request a copy of the trust document — after the trust becomes irrevocable (which is usually after your death).
  • You will probably save your probate estate fees and court costs.
  • You can provide for uninterrupted management of your assets in case of your incapacity.
  • You can avoid interruption of asset management when disability occurs or at death.
  • You can change your mind at any time.

Disadvantages

  • Initial cost and trouble of set up or “funding” of the trust. Property must be transferred to the trust and if you do not do that, then the trust is not worth doing.
  • It slightly complicates subsequent dealings with the property (but only slightly).
  • It may require payment of an annual trustee’s fee if an institution is the trustee.
  • At the time of termination, there may be fees to the trustee or for property recordation and transfer.
  • There are no immediate tax advantages. Tax planning can be done in a Will or in a trust.