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What Are The Different Kinds Of Trusts?


A testamentary trust is part of a will. This type of trust will be established after the grantor’s passing and during the will’s probate phase.

For example:

An older couple, Michael and Stephanie, have adult children and grandchildren. Michael and Stephanie want to help their grandchildren, great-grandchildren (and more, if possible) with their higher education expenses. The couple currently have a separate brokerage account set up just for this.

Rather than transferring this account into their minor grandchildren’s names right now, the couple decide to set up a testamentary trust, which is a part of their will. This gives Michael and Stephanie access to their brokerage account while they are still alive for a dire financial emergency. Assuming everything goes according to their financial plan, their testamentary trust will be established after Michael and Stephanie pass away. It will be overseen by two co-trustees, their adult daughter Monica and their financial adviser.

The testamentary trust will be professionally managed by the financial adviser. Daughter Monica is empowered through the trust to choose a different adviser, who will become a future co-trustee; any future adviser must be licensed and with an established, national firm. Michael and Stephanie have planned an investment strategy so that gains in the fund are reinvested and that $30,000 per descendant can go toward higher education. Monica (and her successor trustees) are not empowered to withdraw any funds unless the funds are for higher education expenses. Funds can be drawn via check and the check can only be made out to a college or other institution of higher learning. This is all spelled out in the trust.


There are two types of living trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust gives you most flexibility, but no estate tax benefit. An irrevocable trust gives you minimal flexibility but maximum estate tax benefit.


With a revocable trust you continue to control the assets when you are the trustee. You can change or undo the trust any time you wish.

  • This gives you maximum flexibility to manage the trust’s assets while you are alive, while knowing the assets will not be subject to probate and therefore can pass rather quickly to your beneficiaries.
  • Probate can be a long and costly event. The period of time can vary but at least a year is normal. Your estate will also incur attorney’s fees and other expenses during probate. In some states the probate court determines what “reasonable” probate fees will be.
  • With a revocable trust, your beneficiaries will need to understand their own tax situation and to pay the appropriate taxes once they’ve acquired what you’ve passed on to them.


An irrevocable trust allows you to permanently and irrevocably give away your assets to your trust during your lifetime. That word “permanent” means what it says: once the trust is in place, it cannot be undone unless the grantor and all beneficiaries agree to it.

  • The advantage has everything to do with estate taxes: since the assets are no longer yours, they are no longer a part of your estate.
  • “No estate taxes” is very attractive but the permanent aspect of this trust makes its use to be one for a specific purpose, such as Medicaid Planning.
  • Discuss this option with your team of advisers and see if right for you.

Contact Scott D. Bloom law for more information about using a trust in your estate plan.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

What Is A Trust?


  •  A trust is an estate planning tool–a legal document–which is commonly used to manage the disposition of assets after the person who created the trust (the grantor) passes away. In addition, a trust can be used to distribute assets while the grantor is alive. It all depends on the purpose of the trust and how the grantor wishes to set up asset management and disposition.
  •  A trust can replace a will and can also be used to supplement a will.
  • The trust names beneficiaries who are to receive assets per the terms of the trust.
  • A trust is managed by a trustee or multiple trustees.
  • The trust identifies beneficiaries and may also identify successor trustees who will manage the trust on an on-going basis.
  • A trust takes assets out of your estate because the trust itself becomes the owner of the assets. The trustee then controls and manages the trust’s assets.
  • A trust can operate for several generations—or for a single one—it all depends on how it’s set up.


  •  A trust is not typically subject to probate. This means that assets can usually be distributed to beneficiaries faster than assets that are part of a Will, because a trust isn’t usually subject to what can be a lengthy probate court process.
  • Because the trust spells out what is supposed to happen with the assets, the beneficiaries can be assured that there isn’t deviation from what the trust says. The trustee is legally bound to do what the trust says.
  • A trust can potentially ensure that assets are available for generations of beneficiaries; you can have confidence that your assets are helping your heirs for a long time.
  • An irrevocable trust  can be used to help assets pass to the beneficiaries without estate taxes coming due.


  • A trust’s purpose is to manage assets–assets are things like cash and things that can be sold for cash (e.g. a home, business, precious metals, bank accounts, jewelry, family heirlooms–anything you consider to be of value).


  • A trust can include assets which can be used to pay for the care of others.
  • This can include the care of anyone—for the trustee while they are still alive—or for an individual who is too young to care for themselves or doesn’t have the mental or physical capacity to care for themselves.


  • A team of professionals is the best way to determine if a trust is right for you. Start with an estate planning attorney and possibly a CPA in your education process. They will discuss all of the options with you so you can make the best decision for your needs.

There are many different types of trusts, each has its own purpose. We’ll go into a few of these in a separate blog. To identify the best kind of trust for your needs, talk to the professionals at the Scott D. Bloom Law office.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

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