Trusts are an important aspect of estate planning. Married couples, with or without children, may want to consider a marital trust. This quick overview will help you better understand Massachusetts marital trusts.

What is a Marital Trust

A marital trust goes into effect when one spouse dies. All marital assets are placed into the trust and benefits the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse dies, what happens to those assets depends on the type of trust. Some grant the surviving spouse full control over deciding what should be done while others have pre-designated conditions for the assets should the surviving spouse die. Often times, it depends on whether there are children from a previous marriage, children from a current marriage, and potential children from future marriages. Married couples may have certain wishes on how those heirs may be handled and who benefits from the trust.

Types of Massachusetts Marital Trusts

Marital trusts can be structured a few different ways.

  • General Power of Appointment – Property is left to the surviving spouse, who then has the right to designate a new owner, without restriction.
  • Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trust – Property is passed to the surviving spouse but specific instructions are given should that surviving spouse die.
  • Estate Trust – Benefits the surviving spouse and passes down to that surviving spouse’s estate upon death.

Benefits of Marital Trusts

Massachusetts marital trusts are beneficial for many reasons. First and foremost, they help avoid the probate process. Probate is a court process and can be time consuming and costly, preventing heirs from receiving anything until it is completed. It also makes information on the decedent’s estate public information. There are also tax benefits to having a trust. To learn more about marital trusts, contact Martino Law Group for a free consultation.