Understanding Married Separate Trusts

Married couples have the choice of either a joint or separate trust.

What: Married Separate Trusts (MST) allow a married couple to create and maintain two separate trusts.

Why: Married Separate Trusts may be a better choice when one or both of the spouses have the following situations: 

  • Assets from previous marriages or relationships
  • A personal inheritance they are not co-mingling with their marital assets
  • A prenuptial agreement that requires property and earnings be kept separate
  • Each spouse wants to leave their assets to different beneficiaries

In addition, spouses having separate trusts may keep the assets of one spouse better protected from financial risks taken by the other spouse resulting in debt or creditor actions. Since each spouse’s assets are in a separate trust, depending on state law, they may be out of reach from the other spouse’s creditors.

How: Create a New Client as you normally would. During the initial set of questions, you will see a question that says: Do either you or your spouse have assets of substantial value that you do NOT consider owned by both of you?

Answering Yes to this question will give your clients the option of choosing Married Separate Trusts. 

You will then continue as normal, completing first one spouse's trust and then the other.