When should I have a joint trust with my spouse?

Married couples often consider themselves one unit with their spouse. It doesn’t seem to make sense that separate revocable trusts would be set up as part of an estate plan. But what most people don’t really understand or want to consider is that the real benefit to having a revocable trust happens after death. After the death of the first spouse one spouse still remains. There is no longer a marital unit and any trusts you have must reflect that.

A portion of the assets that are attributed to the deceased spouse must become irrevocable and a portion must stay revocable. This is where things get confusing, time consuming, and potentially very costly if the assets were not split into separate trusts while both spouses were alive. Ultimately, the surviving spouse will be stuck dealing with the mess and cost.

Kelley Scrocca
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Business Estate Planning and Probate Attorney