Tag Archives: revocable living trusts

A/B trust: Estate tax planning for married couples

If you don’t understand the differences between a will and a trust, it may cost your surviving spouse a great deal  of money.

A Last Will & Testament

    If your estate is subject to estate taxes and you leave your property directly to your surviving spouse, he or she loses the multimillion dollar federal tax exemption.

A Trust

    If you have a trust, the trust instructions can set up new trusts when you die, sometimes referred to as A/B Trusts.

    The use of the A/B trust enables both you and your surviving spouse to claim their federal estate tax exemption allowance, potentially saving the estate hundreds of thousands of dollars.  See the estate tax section for more information.


Conservator alternative

A Last Will and Testament

  • If you have a will and become incapacitated, nothing in your will can help manage your assets while you are living.

A Living Trust

  • If you have a living trust, your co-trustee or successor trustee can continue to manage trust assets without a court supervised guardianship.
  • A court supervised guardianship costs money and requires the courts to supervise how someone manages your assets.

A Testamentary Trust

  • A testamentary trust is created after you die.  It does not provide value if you become incapacitated.

Authentic document

An authentic document is one that you state considers to be a legal representation of your wishes.

A Last Will and Testament

  • If you have a will, most states require your estate representative to file the original copy with the probate court.
  • If the original copy cannot be found, some states will consider you to have died intestate.

A Living Trust

  • If you have a living trust, copies of your living trust are considered authentic, binding documents.