What Are The Three Types Of Trust Accounts?

what are the 3 types of trust accounts

Communication is easy, instant, and effective when the trust account is highly valued. Trust accounts, or fiduciary accounts, are created by a grantor or trustor to benefit one or more parties. The three most common types of trusts are testamentary, revocable inter vivos, and non-revocable inter vivos living trusts.

A testamentary trust is created in the will of the deceased. It is usually established for minors or individuals unable to manage their assets due to disability. Revocable inter vivos living trusts are typically used to manage assets, protect property, avoid probate, and provide for people who have special needs.

Non-revocable inter vivos living trusts are often used to protect assets from creditors, provide for long-term care needs, and minimize taxes. Trust accounts are complex legal matters, so having skilled counsel is essential for helping protect the assets placed in trust and ensuring the trust is administered correctly.

Pace & Associates CPAs can provide comprehensive trust services and help meet the exact needs of our clients. This blog will explain what a trust account is and the three types of trusts that are available. Let’s get started.

Trust Account | A Basic Know-How

A trust account is a financial institution account that a trustee holds on behalf of another person or organization. A trust can be used for many reasons, such as managing assets, protecting property, avoiding probate, and providing for people with special needs. A trust can also be used to ensure money is invested and managed efficiently.

Trustees, also known as fiduciaries, are responsible for managing the trust account and distributing funds according to the directions of the trustor. This includes ensuring all required taxes are paid and that all recipients receive their due share of assets or benefits at the correct time.

Trustees are held to a higher standard than other financial advisors since they are legally responsible for acting in the best interest of those relying on them. To ensure the account is managed properly, a trustworthy trustee must thoroughly understand all aspects of trust accounts, including tax law and investments.

Some Significant Benefits of Trust Account

Trust accounts play a pivotal role in safeguarding assets and ensuring efficient management. They are particularly significant for the following reasons:

Asset Protection

Asset protection trusts are an excellent way to protect assets from creditors, lawsuits, and other potential threats. By transferring ownership of assets to a trust account, they are legally shielded, offering protection that personal accounts can’t provide.

Estate Planning

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Trust accounts allow for a smooth transition of assets upon the trustor’s death, bypassing the often lengthy and expensive probate process. This ensures that beneficiaries receive their inheritance promptly.

Tax Efficiency

Trust accounts can provide tax advantages, depending on the trust established. For instance, they can enable estate tax exemption or facilitate income splitting, leading to significant tax savings.

Special Needs Provision

Trust accounts are a versatile tool for individuals with special needs without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. Properly structuring a trust ensures that a loved one’s needs metre of.

Financial Management

Trustees, as fiduciaries, are obligated to manage the trust account in the best interest of the beneficiaries. This offers assurance that the trust assets will be professionally managed and invested wisely.

Trust accounts are essential for asset protection and estate planning, offering benefits in tax efficiency, special needs provision, and financial management.

Who Needs Trust Account?

Trust accounts provide numerous benefits for individuals and families but may not be suitable for everyone. Those who own numerous assets or want to set up an estate plan should consider establishing a trust account.

It’s also important to note that trusts are complex legal matters, so it is essential to seek the services of an experienced professional when setting one up. Those who may benefit the most from trust accounts include:

  • Individuals with multiple assets
  • Families with minors or those with special needs
  • Business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Those looking to protect their estates from estate taxes
  • People want to ensure that their beneficiaries receive their inheritance promptly.

Three Main Types Of Trust Accounts

To understand the different strategies for protecting and managing assets, it’s crucial to understand the three main types of trust accounts. Each type has unique features and benefits designed to suit diverse needs. Let’s delve into the specifics of the three main types of trust accounts:

1. Testamentary Trust

A testamentary trust, also known as a will trust, is a trust that is created upon the death of the trustor (the person who creates the trust), as specified in their will. One unique characteristic of a testamentary trust is that it does not exist until the trustor dies. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Estate Control

A Testamentary Trust allows the trustor to control their estate after their death. The trustor can specify how their assets should be allocated, when, and to whom, ensuring their wishes are honored.

  • Protection For Minors And Dependents

This type of trust is particularly suitable for those with minor children or dependents who cannot manage their finances. The trustor can appoint a trusted individual as a trustee who will manage the assets for the benefit of the minors or dependents.

  • Tax Advantages
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A Testamentary Trust can provide certain tax benefits. Since the trust’s assets are separate from the beneficiary’s, they may be subject to lower tax rates.

  • Probate Avoidance

Assets within a Testamentary Trust do not go through the probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive. This means beneficiaries can gain access to their inheritance more quickly and efficiently.

  • Creditor Protection

Assets within a Testamentary Trust can be shielded from creditors of the beneficiaries. This is particularly useful if a beneficiary is dealing with monetary issues or is at risk of bankruptcy.

Testamentary Trusts offer a variety of benefits, including estate control, protection for minors and dependents, tax advantages, probate avoidance, and creditor protection. They can be a valuable tool for estate planning and should be considered by those wanting to ensure their assets are managed according to their wishes after death.

2. Revocable Inter Vivos Living Trust

A revocable inter vivos living trust, often simply called a living trust, is a legal entity created during a person’s lifetime into which they transfer ownership of their assets. The creator of the trust, also known as the grantor or settlor, retains the flexibility to alter or revoke the trust during their lifetime.

  • Flexibility And Control

One of the critical attributes of a revocable living trust is the level of control it offers. The grantor can serve as the trustee, managing and making decisions about the trust’s assets. This can include buying, selling, or gifting assets.

  • Bypass Probate
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The primary benefit of a revocable living trust is its ability to bypass the probate process. Because the trust owns the assets and not the deceased, there’s no need for the probate court to distribute them. This can save time and money and keep the details of the estate private.

  • Changeable And Revocable

As the name suggests, a revocable living trust can be changed or revoked at any time during the grantor’s lifetime. This allows flexibility to adapt to changes in circumstances, whether the addition of new assets, changes in beneficiaries, or changes in the grantor’s wishes.

  • Tax Implications

For tax purposes, revocable trusts are considered “grantor trusts,” which means the trust’s income and deductions are reported on the grantor’s personal income tax returns. However, unlike certain irrevocable trusts, revocable trusts do not protect from estate taxes.

A revocable trust offers flexibility, control, and the ability to bypass probate but does not offer the same level of asset protection and tax benefits as certain irrevocable trusts. As with any estate planning decision, it’s important to consult a professional to understand the best options for your situation.

3. Non-revocable Inter Vivos Living Trust

A non-revocable inter vivos living trust, also known as an irrevocable trust, is a type of trust that can’t be changed or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. Having transferred assets into the trust, the grantor effectively removes all their ownership rights to the assets and the trust.

Transfer Of Ownership

The most significant benefit of a non-revocable inter vivos trust is the complete transfer of ownership from the grantor to the trust. This means the assets are no longer part of the grantor’s taxable estate, leading to potential estate tax savings.

Asset Protection

Assets held in an irrevocable trust can be protected from creditors. Since the grantor no longer owns the assets, they are typically out of reach from legal judgments against the grantor, making them an effective asset protection tool.

Reduced Estate Tax Liability

One of the driving reasons for creating an irrevocable trust is the potential to reduce estate tax liability. Once assets are transferred to an irrevocable trust, they are no longer part of the grantor’s estate and are thus not subject to estate taxes upon the grantor’s death.

Control Over Asset Distribution

While an irrevocable trust may not offer the flexibility of revocation or modification, it provides a high degree of control over how and when the assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

An irrevocable trust is a powerful estate planning tool that can offer significant benefits, including asset protection, reduction of estate tax liability, and control over asset distribution. However, due to its irrevocable nature, it’s important to consider the implications and consult a professional before setting up this trust.

Other Trust Accounts

what are the 3 types of trust accounts

In addition to Testamentary Trusts and inter vivos living trusts, other types can be used for various purposes. Special needs trusts allow assets to be set aside for individuals with disabilities without impacting their eligibility for government benefits.

A charitable remainder trust allows the grantor to make charitable contributions while retaining specific rights. Irrevocable life insurance trusts are used to manage the proceeds of a life insurance policy and avoid estate taxes. And there are other trusts, such as qualified personal residence trust and grantor retained annuity trust, charitable trust, and charitable remainder annuity trust.

No matter what type of trust you’re considering, it’s essential to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each and to consult a professional for advice on selecting the best option for your situation. Pace & Associates CPAs can help you navigate the complexities of establishing and managing a trust account.

What Type of Trust Account Do You Need?

Choosing the right trust account depends on various factors, including financial situation, goals, and specific needs. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Understanding Your Goals

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand your financial and estate planning goals. Whether it’s avoiding probate, reducing estate tax liability, ensuring care for a special needs family member, or planning for incapacity, your goals will guide the type of trust best for you.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

Take a comprehensive look at your financial situation. The value of your estate, the type of assets you own, and your current and future financial obligations can impact the most beneficial trust type.

Considering Your Family Situation

Your family situation is another crucial factor. If you have minor children or a surviving spouse, a trust can ensure they are cared for financially. A special needs trust may be appropriate if you wish to transfer assets to a relative with special needs without jeopardizing their benefits.

Professional Consultation

Seek professional advice from an attorney or financial planner familiar with your state’s laws and experienced in estate planning. It’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each type of trust before making a decision.


Trust accounts offer numerous benefits, including asset protection, tax savings, and control over how remaining assets are distributed. Depending on your goals and financial situation, trusts can be a powerful tool for estate planning.

The three main types of trust accounts, Testamentary Trusts, revocable inter vivos living trusts, and non-revocable inter vivos living trusts, each offer unique benefits and limitations regarding asset control, estate tax implications, and asset protection.

However, it’s essential to understand each type of trust’s features and consult with a professional when selecting the best option for you. Pace & Associates CPAs can help you explore the various trust options and develop a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your needs. Contact us today for more information.


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