Creating a proper estate plan is an important responsibility of any married couple. Unfortunately, some couples mistakenly believe that if all of their assets are owned jointly, they do not need an Orange County living trust as part of their plan. In reality, there are many important and valid reasons for married couples to consider using a trust as part of their estate plan. This is true even when all of the assets within the couple’s estate are held in the names of both spouses. The following are six important reasons for married couples to consider creating a trust:
- You cannot predict who will pass away first, or when that passing will occur. Both you and your spouse may pass away at the same time, or in quick succession. Your family will then have to open up a probate administration to oversee the transfer of ownership of the assets.
- Your beneficiaries may be your children. If these children are legally minors, there will be added complications and expenses with regard to transferring the assets.
- You may not want to give your assets to your beneficiaries right away. An Orange County living trust allows for delayed distributions of these assets in a way that a will cannot.
- Proper estate planning considers not just post-death needs, but also your needs in the event that you become disabled or incapacitated. If a trust is in place, it is much easier to quickly transition control over the assets to your successor trustee. A spouse is not automatically deemed guardian over your affairs.
- Relying on joint ownership between spouses often results in a need to create an entirely new estate plan for the surviving spouse after the first spouse passes away. If a living trust was used, this may not be necessary.
- You may be concerned about whether your spouse will honor your agreed upon wishes with regard to asset distributions. This may especially be a concern if you consider the fact that your spouse may remarry after your passing. You can use a trust to ensure that your wishes will be carried out after you are gone—and later, after your spouse is gone, as well.
Any married couple creating an estate plan should carefully consider all available options. For more information about living trusts, view our guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust - In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes. Contact an experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.