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Single vs. Joint Trusts

Posted by Dana Law Group on April 15, 2022

Trusts are a significant part of estate planning. They provide complete protection. When you are married, you may need to make different decisions to ensure you are making smart choices. You have the option to create individual single trusts or one joint trust.

What is a Single Trust?

A trust is a document that legally transfers the assets of a person when designating a third party to manage and distribute the assets after the person passes away. A single trust is established by one person and intended for only one person.

What is a Joint Trust?

A joint trust is for individuals that are married to each other, and the trust is established by those two individuals. There are instructions specifically for what happens after one or both people pass away when you have a joint trust.

Pros of a Single Trust

When you opt for a single trust, it provides you better protection against creditors. When one spouse passes away, and they have an irrevocable trust, that makes it more difficult for creditors to gain access to it.

The assets from a single trust go to heirs and do not automatically go to the surviving spouse. The benefit here is that you may have children unrelated to your current spouse, and you want your assets to go to your children and not your spouse. If you have a single trust, you have the option to do this.

Pros of a Joint Trust

A joint trust provides easier creation and maintenance than other types of trust. When there is a joint trust, the surviving spouse does not have to understand what is in the individual spouse’s separate trust.

This also saves the surviving spouse from having to determine where the assets will go. When one spouse passes away, the survivor gets immediate control of all the assets in the trust. A single trust provides the surviving spouse with only limited control of the assets.

With a joint trust, it is easier for the surviving spouse to sell assets or property that is listed in the trust. However, it is not as simple to do when the surviving spouse is attempting to sell property listed in a single trust.

Every family situation is different, and yours may have unique needs. You should find the right trust structure that meets your needs. For more information about trusts and other estate planning, contact the Dana Law Group for more details. They have knowledgeable probate and estate planning lawyers available to answer all of your questions and help you start your planning today.