While we recommend revocable gun trusts in most situations, there are situations where an irrevocable gun trust might be the best option for a client. Specifically, with a revocable trust, a judgment creditor can attach to the assets of a revocable trust because the settlor/grantor can revoke the trust at any time. However, with an irrevocable trust, the settlor/grantor, alone, cannot revoke the trust. Hence, the assets are protected from judgment, which may be beneficial to professionals who are exposed to malpractice suits and other judgments.
So when can an irrevocable trust be modified? Per 20 Pa.C.S. 7740.1, “A noncharitable irrevocable trust may be modified or terminated upon consent of the settlor and all beneficiaries even if modification or termination is inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust.” (emphasis added). Unlike in a revocable trust, a irrevocable trust requires that the beneficiary(ies) agree to the modification or dissolution of the trust. Hence, where a judgment creditor proceeds against a settlor/grantor, the settlor/grantor’s consent is not solely sufficient to modify the trust. (For those who don’t understand the interplay, a judgment creditor can enforce his/her/its judgment against the settlor by forcing the settlor to consent to the modification in a revocable trust, because the Court’s view the settlor/grantor’s revocable control as the assets still belonging to the grantor/settlor. However, the judgment creditor cannot force the beneficiary(ies) to consent. Thus, an irrevocable trust will protect the assets).
HOWEVER, in opting for an irrevocable trust, you must be cognizant that your beneficiary(ies) may not agree with your future modifications. In that scenario, you will be unable to modify your trust. Even in scenarios where your current spouse is the beneficiary (or even child for that matter), please remember that 50%+ of marriages end in divorce and some children do grow up to resent their parents. The decision to use a irrevocable trust should not be decided in haste.