When a person decides to include a trust in their estate plan, there are generally many decisions to make regarding the trust and its terms. One is whether the trust will be a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust.
Generally, a trust can be revoked or changed if it is revocable, and cannot be if it is irrevocable. This makes it so irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts can be quite different from each other.
For one, there is generally a big flexibility difference between these two trust types. Given their ability to be change or revoked, revocable trusts typically offer a greater degree of flexibility than irrevocable trusts.
However, flexibility is not the only respect in which these two trust types differ. They also differ in the purposes they can be used for. For example, revocable trusts lack many of the asset protection applications that irrevocable trusts can have.
Thus, as is the case with many trust terms, whether a trust is revocable or irrevocable can have significant impacts on what sorts of purposes the trust is able to serve. Thus, the decisions a person makes regarding trust terms, such as terms regarding a trust's revocability, can have some really big impacts on what the trust is ultimately able to do for the person. Consequently, when working to get a trust put in place, a person may want to consider having an estate planning attorney help them with finding the right trust terms for the purposes they have in mind for the trust.
Source: FindLaw, "Types of Trusts," Accessed June 15, 2015