A consultation today brought up an interesting issue about the effect of living trust estate planning on tenants by entireties and other asset protection issues. The client is a prospective defendant in a lawsuit. The client and wife have a joint living trust for which they are both trustees. The trust agreement divides their property between the husband’s trust share and the wife’s trust share. An appendix lists specific property in the husband’s share. We discussed the following issues. Is it possible to claim tenants by entireties to joint trust property where property is allocated within the trust to either spouse individually?
I think probably not. In the event the husband and wife as trustees convey cash from the joint trust bank account to an account outside the trust titled husband and wife, when the trust’s cash account is specified as husband’s asset, is that a fraudulent conveyance from the husband to a joint account? Is the cash now jointly owned because it is in a joint trust account, or is it the husband’s property because the trust agreement allocates ownership to the husband? I think a creditor would have a valid argument, and the result is uncertain.