As part of a comprehensive estate plan, many people opt to form a trust to which they transfer ownership of their property and assets. However, there are many types of trusts you can form under Missouri trust laws, and the type of trust that is right for you will depend on many factors. Such factors may include:

  • Your familial situation
  • The nature of your estate
  • The age, habits, and health of your beneficiaries
  • Your estate planning goals


One type of trust that is commonly considered for married couples is referred to as a sweetheart trust. There are many benefits for spouses to form this type of trust, as it is relatively simple and achieves a primary estate planning goal of keeping property out of probate.

When both spouses are alive and mentally competent, they can agree to modify the terms of the trust, and each spouse can revoke his or her share at any time. When one spouse passes away and the other survives, the trust will automatically be in the primary control of the surviving spouse. The trust is essentially one spouse handing over the gift of the trust property to the surviving spouse. The living spouse then has the right to manage and even revoke the trust if they so choose.

Possible Concerns About Sweetheart Trusts

In many situations, there are no issues with handing over the entire estate to the surviving spouse. However, in some cases, there may be concerns. For example, a surviving spouse will be able to change the beneficiaries of the trust. This may not be preferable if you have a blended family and want to ensure that your biological children are protected if they are not your spouse’s biological children. This is only one of several potential concerns involving sweetheart trusts that you should discuss with an experienced attorney.

Discuss Your Wills and Trusts Options With an Experienced St. Louis and St. Charles Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions about trusts, you should not hesitate to call an estate planning lawyer at the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp. We will review all your options and help you decide on the best estate planning tools for you, so call today at 636-947-3600.

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