Is A Living Trust A Good Idea For A Single Parent?

A living trust would be a good idea for any person, not just someone who was single, because of the benefits it offered.

The two overwhelming benefits would be that the person would get incapacity planning while they were are alive, meaning if something happened to them, there would be someone else who could pick it up and take off running with it, whereas a will would only be good if the person was dead. It would not help the person if they ended up in a coma or if they were out of the country and could not do anything.

A will would not help the person if they ended up with dementia and were no longer competent to conduct their own affairs, whereas a trust would take care of all these things.

The second benefit is that a trust would avoid probate.

More or less everybody would benefit from those two things regardless of whether they were single, married or from whatever walk of life or demographic. There would be an added benefit and it would obviously be better for single people because they would not have another spouse who could just take over everything. The person may have to leave assets to children who were minor or in their early to mid 20s, when the person might not be ready to just give them all the assets or let them be in control.

If a married man died while his wife was still alive, then she would be able to handle some of those issues, although if someone who was single died, then they would need to figure out who they wanted to leave in charge. Even if they did a will, they would still be drafting a trust for their children inside that will, so they would still have to go to probate court which would somewhat defeat the purpose of doing a trust.

It would be a better idea to just get rid of the will component, and then build the trust and go from there. A single person would have to do that anyway because they would have to name a parent, a sibling or any adult who they trusted to be the trustee and who could manage the assets for the children because they did not have a spouse.

Can A Married Person Create A Living Trust Plan Without The Knowledge Of His Or Her Spouse?

Yes, they could. This may not be the case in every state but I have never heard of any situation where there were laws prohibiting it.

In Georgia, the person would not be able to disinherit their spouse if they had a will. They could try to write their spouse out, but the spouse would still be able to find a way to go and get it through other legal mechanisms.

Once an asset had been put in a trust, there would be nothing for the spouse to go and take because the person would not actually have any assets, because upon their death, those assets would all belong to the trust.

Theoretically, someone who wanted to disinherit their spouse would have to set up a trust, not tell them about it and take care of it that way because if their spouse tried to use legal mechanisms to take things, then with a trust, they essentially would not be able to do so.

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