My clients are always asking me which is better - an Irrevocable Trust or a Revocable Living Trust. Much to their dismay, the answer is that one is not better than the other. Irrevocable and Revocable Trusts are excellent estate and elder law planning tools that, depending on your objectives, can both be of significant value when used as part of your planning.
When meeting with a client and his or her family, one of the first inquiries I make is to determine whether or not he or she has previously executed a durable general power of attorney (POA) and, if so, what provisions it contains. Since a POA is, like many legal documents, a standardized form created by statute, the natural tendency is to assume that they are all the same and contain identical provisions. This, however, is often an incorrect and dangerous assumption.
One question I am often asked is the difference between a Last Will & Testament and a Revocable Living Trust. While many simply default to a Last Will as their primary estate planning document, the Revocable Living Trust has been gaining significantly in popularity over the past several years. Here are the basics on both:
Fearing a continued exodus of affluent New Yorkers to states that do not impose a state estate tax, the State of New York has finally enacted significant changes to N.Y. Tax Law Section 952. The most significant change is the increase in the basic exclusion amount for the imposition of New York estate taxes. Thus, for individuals dying on or after: