Brian O’Connell on Common Misconceptions of Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Brian M. O’Connell, Estate Litigation and Trust Lawyer

August 15, 2020

Common Misconceptions of Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Brian O’Connell is a well-known West Palm Beach Estate Litigation and Trust Lawyer. He specializes in estate planning and administration, probate, and estate trial litigation. Over the years, he and his firm, Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell West Palm Beach, have earned a winning reputation for protecting the rights of incapacitated estate owners and their families. We sat down with Brian O’Connell to discuss his thoughts on revocable and irrevocable trusts. He says there are a lot of common misconceptions about these complicated legal subjects. Here’s what we learned.


A Palm Beach Estate Litigation and Trust Lawyer Discusses Common Misconceptions of Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Early in our conversation, Brian O’Connell pointed out that many people believe that estate trusts are only for the very wealthy. This, he says, is not the case at all. Trusts, Brian O’Connell explains, can be used for a wide variety of reasons, including practical and everyday estate planning purposes. This goes for both revocable and irrevocable trusts, while irrevocable trusts are more permanent.


The most common type of trust is known as a “living trust,” or revocable trust. Such a trust can be rescinded, modified, dissolved, or changed in a number of ways. By establishing such a trust, one can provide valuable benefits by naming a trustee. Such a trust can be established by persons of modest means over estates that are modest in both size and value.


Another potentially harmful misconception about trusts, Brian O’Connell explained, is that the owner of an estate no longer controls the assets held in the trust- rather, all control is given to the trustee. Brian O’Connell explains that while the trustee, or conservator, does have control over the estate and its assets, they are still legally obligated to make only decisions that are in accordance with the owner’s wishes and/or with the living Will of a deceased or incapacitated owner.


This misconception stems from the fact that the trustee is given access to estate accounts, and the power of attorney to make decisions. This does not mean that he or she can do anything they want with the estate. If the trustee acts in a way that is contrary to the will of the current owner or the owner’s will, then the trustee can be successfully sued.


Finally, Brian O’Connell explained that another common misconception about trusts is that they are only for financial securities or cash. This, of course, is far from the truth. Trusts can be established for the care and conservation of homes, automobiles, or nearly any other kind of valuable, lasting asset or property.


Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell Palm Beach 

Of course, as a reputable Estate Litigation and Trust Lawyer, Brian O’Connell understands these facts very well. Oftentimes, he is able to set the minds of estate owners and their families at ease by clarifying such misapprehensions about trusts and estate law.