When setting up a trust, your first instinct might be to name your spouse as the trustee. Just be aware that without proper planning, naming your spouse as the trustee may cause tax and administration difficulties down the road.

Couple holding hands on beach

If your spouse has broad and/or over-reaching powers over the trust corpus, the fair market value of the trust at his/her death may be pulled into her gross estate for estate tax purposes, resulting in higher death taxes. This result may be contrary to the goals and objectives of your overall estate plan.

Also, if your spouse has strained relationships with the principal beneficiaries of the trust, it may hinder his/her objectivity to comply with the terms of the trust. He/she may have some wiggle-room based upon broad language in the trust instrument to avoid making distributions to beneficiaries which may be contrary to your intentions.

Seeking the advice of a competent estate planning professional will help minimize the above mentioned difficulties.