The estate plans of married couples typically provide for at least the option of holding all or part of the first decedent’s estate in an irrevocable testamentary trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse. Often this design is utilized to make sure the lifetime estate tax exemption of the first decedent isn’t wasted by leaving everything outright to the survivor. In those cases the trust is designed so as not to be included in the gross estate of the survivor at death. Sometimes use of one or more testamentary trusts has to do with protecting the decedent’s share from the survivor’s creditors, exploitation by a subsequent spouse or an abusive family member. Sometimes in second marriages or where there is inherited wealth the first decedent’s objective is to control the ultimate disposition of the assets at the second death. In any case, when the assets of an estate are to be held in an ongoing trust for a surviving spouse the assets must be valued and choices made about how to allocate them between the trust(s) and the survivor. The professionals at Lyons Sullivan are here to provide you with legal services on the probate process. Our probate lawyers here in Bellevue are skilled and experienced at guiding clients through the various considerations that come into play.