Revocable trusts may be wise in estate planning for spouses

Couples looking to protect their assets for the surviving spouse may be wise to work with an estate planning attorney. While some may feel they are aptly covered simply by the fact that they are married or have a written document in place the fact is that any property held in one spouse's name alone often isn't enough. If the deceased spouse owned property in his or her own name, his or her will bequeathed it to his or her trust, but such post-death funding of a trust requires a probate proceeding.

However, it is possible to avoid probate court. This can be accomplished by each spouse establishing a revocable trust and transferring individually-held property to the trust. It's a good idea to equally divide marital property into his and her trusts. Doing so can help avoid possible challenges to transfers on grounds such as those concerning the non-signing spouse's dower rights, the non-signing spouse possessing the transferred property or an interest in it, or in a community property state, the non-signing spouse having a community property interest in the transferred property.

So what sorts of assets should be placed in revocable trusts? Bank accounts, mutual fund accounts, and brokerage accounts, to name a few. Others include certificated stocks or bonds, which may require the services of a brokerage firm or the issuing company's treasury or stock agent.

Closely-held business interests should also be transferred to revocable trusts. This will require help from counsel yet may prove beneficial as dividing a closely-held business interest between two spouses' trusts can save considerable estate tax.

Couples may also want to transfer real property, including their primary residence, to revocable trusts, which can be accomplished with quit claim deeds.

So what assets may best be left out of revocable trusts? Life insurance policies and retirement plan accounts make the list. Proceeds from life insurance pass outside of probate and retirement plan account transfers constitute a taxable distribution from the account.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Plan Funding for Spouses," Stephen J. Dunn, May 27, 2013. 

Mr. Teiger, Thank you very much for your time and results. I will definitely recommend you & your firm to anyone who wants to be treated professionally courteously and needs results.Hope all is well.Again...thank you. Regards, Paul L.

msg iconEmail Us For a Response

When you have legal questions or concerns, contact our team at Teiger Law Center, P.C., by calling 678-374-7645, 800-780-2275 or reach us via email by completing our online contact form. From our Cumming and Alpharetta law offices, we represent clients in the Atlanta metro and throughout north Georgia.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Cumming Office
514 West Maple Street
Suite 101
Cumming, GA 30040

Toll Free: 866-726-2153
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Cumming Law Office Map

Alpharetta Office
12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Toll Free: 800-780-2275
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Map & Directions

Review Us