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The Plain English Attorney

The Pro-Con Checklist for What’s Right for YOUR Situation

This happens quite frequently when couple-clients move to the area, ask to meet with me about updating their current estate plan… and they have two trusts. Or when meeting with clients who want to avoid probate for their estate, but are just starting to learn about revocable living trusts. One of the first things they ask is whether they should have individual trusts or joint trusts. But what is on the pros and cons checklist of what would be best for their particular situation?

In this blog, I go through a quick modern history of why even attorneys from different parts of the country have different viewpoints, why there is no one 100% correct answer, and why the answer to the question is way more about your particular situation and goals rather than a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy.

We are going to tackle a very common question for couples doing their estate planning and they are looking at the revocable living trust and saying, “Should we have a joint trust or individual trust.”

This is something that has been a topic of conversation, even among attorneys and financial advisors when it comes to estate planning for many, many years. It probably is worth going into a little bit of the history of this.

So It’s Joint vs Individual Trusts

In the modern history of a revocable trust and what we are really talking about is the spreading of the word. So in spreading the word out about revocable living trusts as opposed to wills, as a way to avoid probate, get your estate to your beneficiary as efficiently as possible, and probably most importantly not having to pay a ton of fees or wait a lot of time.

Probate can really eat up a lot of money, especially if you are paying an attorney to handle the paperwork. Where if you can set things up to avoid it you want to. Now you have a married couple, how are they going to do it? Do they each get their own trust?

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