What are the key differences between a Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts?

The main difference between a revocable and an irrevocable trust is that the grantor, or creator of the trust, may make changes during his or her lifetime to the revocable trust, but may not do so to the irrevocable trust. You may ask, why would we ever want an irrevocable trust? Typically, the reason comes down to one of two, either for asset protection purposes or for tax advantages.

A quick example on the tax side. Let’s suppose a client has shares of stock that are worth $100 a share, but the client believes that the value of those shares is going to appreciate significantly, let’s say to $5,000 a share. It may make sense for the client to transfer the stock into an irrevocable trust today and allow that appreciation to take place outside of his or her estate, thereby potentially saving the client in estate taxes down the road.