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Can a person have 2 different Revocable Living Trusts?

Lake Orion, MI |

I would like to setup a joint trust with my husband and fund it with what we own together. I have a home only in my name. I would like to put it in a seperate trust.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. This is certainly possible. Without knowing more about your objectives, it is impossible to say whether or not there is another planning tool that could achieve them without the need for a trust. For example, the items that you own jointly with your husband will pass to him outside of probate, in the event of your death. If the objective is for him to receive them, then there is nothing further that you need to do.

    If, on the other hand, the goal is to pass these assets on to your children or other heirs, it is not clear why you could not use your other trust to accomplish this.

    Feel free to post additional details or to contact me and I will be happy to provide a more complete answer.

    James Frederick

    I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.

  2. You can have as many revocable living trusts as you want.. it just takes a little time, effort and money to set them up.. However if it gets too complicated it could be a mess to administer after you pass..

    If you have over $1MM in net worth it might be worthwhile to to some estate tax planning.. i.e. separate husband & wife trusts to maximize the estate tax exemptions (if the Bush Tax Cuts expire only the first $1MM will be estate tax free).

    One of the issues will be is why is the house only in your name? If it is a second marriage situation and it is your separate property that is ok.. if it is your first and a long term marriage he may have a claim on part of the equity even if it is only in your name.

    I advise you to get a good estate planning attorney if you want one..

    Answering this question with general knowlege of the law does not create an attorney client relationship and attorney cannot be held responsible for how the questioner uses this information.

  3. This can be done. It would be important to know the reasons why because there may be other ways to accomplish your goal. If your goal is that your husband have no control over the house, and that you wish to leave the house to someone other than him, then having a separate trust can make sense.

    But if your husband would be the trustee or beneficiary of your separate trust anyway, then you might be able to accomplish your goal with a joint trust, and have the advantage of changing the nature of the house to tenancy-by-the-entireties inside the joint trust, which could provide you some additional asset protection instead of a separate trust. There would be special action you'd have to take to do this.

  4. It is certainly possible to have more than one trust, particularly for the reason you have stated: you may want the assets in one trust distributed one way, and the assets in another trust distributed another way. Or you may want the assets of each trust administered by a different person or trustee. Whether separate trusts are actually needed to accomplish these and other objectives is something you should review and discuss with an attorney as part of an overall estate plan. If your objective is to avoid probate administration, some assets may avoid probate without being placed in a trust. If you wish to establish a joint trust with your husband, you must consider the differences between a joint trust and separate trust for each spouse. By using a joint trust, you may lose some asset protection from creditors of one spouse, and there may be accounting issues for tax purposes of which you should be apprised. Thus, the best approach is to establish a set of objectives and sit down with an attorney to determine how best and efficiently you may accomplish those objectives.

  5. Yes!

    This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first. Here's how you can hire me! #1 Call: 1-888-463-2843 #2 Email: #3 See me on TV! - go to the Ask the Expert tab! #4 Listen to my radio show (2 full hours every week!) - go to the podcast section.

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