Assets are placed into a revocable living trust for the benefit of the settlor, who is the person creating the trust. A trust covers three phases of a settlor’s life:

  • While the settlor is alive and well
  • After the settlor has become mentally or physically incapacitated
  • When the settlor dies

Joint Trust vs. Separate Trusts

Married couples can start a joint or separate trust. A joint trust is managed by both spouses while they are alive. The couple’s assets are transferred into one joint revocable living trust.

Separate trusts occurs when spouses each start their own individual trust. Each spouse is solely responsible for managing his or her trust.

Do Married Couples Have Different Revocable Living Trust Options?

Yes. Spouses have three trust options:

  • Basic
  • AB
  • QTIP

What Is a Basic Living Revocable Trust?

A basic, or simple trust, are managed by both spouses until one dies. The surviving spouse then becomes solely responsible for managing the trust. After the surviving spouse dies, the trust is distributed to their heirs.

What Is an AB Revocable Living Trust?

An AB trust is a trust that divides into two trusts after the death of a spouse. It allows you to transfer your assets to your spouse and/or named beneficiaries after you die. It is done in a way that allows you to reduce the estate and avoid probate.

Is a QTIP Trust a Revocable Living Trust Option?

Yes. A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust is similar to the AB trust. However, it is a little more restrictive and complicated that other types of trusts.

Many couples use this type of trust because it is useful in a subsequent marriage. Instead of leaving the assets to a spouse, you can leave assets to be distributed to former spouses and children.

Under this type of trust, when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse decides how much of her spouse’s assets should be held in trust. This allows the living spouse to maximize any estate tax savings. The surviving spouse is not required to put any of the assets away.

Should We Discuss Making a Trust with an Attorney?

Revocable living trusts are highly complicated. To understand more about your options and which trust to choose, contact an estate attorney.