imageWhat are the tax advantages of forming a revocable living trust?

Estate Planning

Navigating Tax Day: The Role of Revocable Living Trusts in Your Financial Strategy

Apr-14 2024

As Tax Day approaches, many of us are meticulously reviewing our finances, seeking ways to optimize our tax positions. In this annual review of our financial situations, the subject of estate planning often comes up, sparking curiosity about how it might impact our overall financial health. Revocable living trusts are a cornerstone of estate planning, and understanding their relationship with taxes is crucial for anyone looking to make informed decisions about their financial future.

Understanding Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and specify how these assets are distributed upon your death. The "revocable" nature of these trusts means that the grantor—the person who creates the trust—can modify or dissolve the trust at any time. This flexibility is a key feature, but it also means that for tax purposes, the trust's assets are still considered part of the grantor's personal estate.

Things to Know About Tax Day

As Tax Day rolls around, it's important to understand the way a revocable living trust is viewed in the eyes of the IRS.

  1. Income Taxes: During the grantor's lifetime, the IRS views a revocable living trust as a "grantor trust." This means that all income generated by the trust's assets is taxed to the grantor at their personal income tax rates. Essentially, there's no distinction between the trust's income and the grantor's other income, making the trust "invisible" for income tax purposes.

  2. Estate Taxes: Upon the death of the grantor, the assets in a revocable living trust are included in the grantor's estate for estate tax calculations. While many estates fall below the federal estate tax exemption threshold, it's important to recognize that the trust doesn't inherently offer a tax shield against estate taxes.

Strategic Considerations

While revocable living trusts may not offer direct tax advantages for Tax Day, they hold significant strategic value:

  • Avoiding Probate

    These trusts can bypass the probate process, offering a streamlined and private transfer of assets to beneficiaries. This can save time and reduce the costs associated with estate settlement.

  • Continuity of Management

    Should the grantor become incapacitated, the trust ensures that assets are managed according to pre-established guidelines, without court intervention.

  • Flexibility

    The ability to amend or revoke the trust provides unparalleled flexibility in estate planning, allowing adjustments as personal or financial circumstances evolve.


As Tax Day prompts a review of your financial strategies, it's clear that revocable living trusts play a more crucial role than merely offering tax benefits. Their true value lies in estate planning efficiencies, asset management during incapacity, and ensuring a smooth transition of wealth to the next generation.

Get started today with your revocable living trust by using the GoodTrust platform to maintain control over assets during your lifetime while providing efficient distribution of those same assets after your passing. Click here to read more about how we can provide you with an easy and fast way to create your revocable living trust today.