The Different Types of Trusts

Are you considering setting up a trust for your estate planning needs? If so, you might consider what type of trust can help you protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away.

In the realm of estate planning, trusts offer a versatile approach to asset protection, control, and the seamless distribution of wealth. With an array of trust types available, understanding their distinct features and advantages is crucial. We will delve into the different types of trusts, shedding light on their purposes and providing valuable insights to guide you through the intricacies of estate planning.

  1. Special Needs Trust: A special needs trust provides support to individuals with disabilities while protecting their eligibility for government benefits. It ensures that trust assets supplement rather than replace public assistance programs.

  2. Revocable Living Trust: A revocable living trust provides lifetime control over assets, ensuring a smooth transition of management and distribution upon incapacity or death. This type of trust offers privacy, avoids probate, and allows for modifications to trust provisions when needed.

  3. Asset Protection Trust: An asset protection trust shields assets from potential creditors, lawsuits, or financial risks. Typically utilized in jurisdictions with favorable laws, this trust type offers an additional layer of protection for wealth.

  4. Testamentary Trust: Created within a will, a testamentary trust takes effect upon the testator's passing. It allows for the management and distribution of assets to designated beneficiaries, often safeguarding assets for minors, individuals with special needs, or controlling distributions over time.

  5. Irrevocable Trust: An irrevocable trust, once established, cannot be altered or revoked without the consent of beneficiaries. It offers potential tax benefits, safeguards assets, and serves charitable causes or the preservation of wealth for future generations.

  6. Charitable Trust: Charitable trusts enable individuals to support causes dear to their hearts while potentially gaining tax benefits. These trusts provide ongoing assistance to charitable organizations and can establish scholarships, grants, or endowments.

  7. Dynasty Trust: A dynasty trust is designed to preserve wealth for multiple generations, minimizing estate taxes and maintaining assets within the family. It ensures long-term financial security and helps build a lasting legacy.

Living Trusts Vs Wills

Living trusts and wills are two distinct estate planning tools that serve different purposes. Here's an explanation of the differences between living trusts and wills:

Living Trust:

  • A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer your assets into a trust during your lifetime.
  • You retain control over the trust and can manage your assets as the trustee while you're alive and competent.
  • A successor trustee is designated to manage the trust and distribute the assets according to your instructions upon your incapacity or death.
  • Living trusts can help avoid probate, the court-supervised process of administering an estate that can be time-consuming and costly.
  • They provide privacy since trust documents are not made public like wills filed in probate court.
  • Living trusts are beneficial for individuals who want to maintain control over their assets and plan for incapacity or disability.


  • A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death.
  • In a will, you name an executor who is responsible for carrying out your wishes, paying debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Wills can also designate guardians for minor children, establish trusts for their benefit, and provide instructions on other matters such as funeral arrangements.
  • A will becomes effective only upon your death and goes through the probate process.
  • It allows you to distribute assets that are not part of a living trust or have not been transferred into a trust.
  • Wills are suitable for individuals with simpler estates or those who have specific intentions for their assets after death.

In summary, living trusts focus on managing assets during your lifetime, planning for incapacity, and avoiding probate, while wills concentrate on the distribution of assets after death and addressing other important matters. It's advisable to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the best approach for your specific circumstances.

Contact our Trust Lawyers

Understanding the different types of trusts empowers you to tailor your estate plan to your specific circumstances and aspirations. To navigate this intricate landscape effectively, consulting an experienced estate planning attorney is essential. Remember, estate planning is a complex endeavor, and professional guidance ensures the protection of your assets and secures the future of your beneficiaries.

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