They are two very different things, and you should probably have both. A living trust can not name guardians for minor children; you need a will for that. A living trust can protect you if you become incapacitated because you've set up who will control things and how things will happen; a will doesn't go into effect until you die, so if you become incapacitated, the court will appoint a conservator that you might not approve of who might do things you wouldn't want. If people owe you money, you can absolve them of the debt with a will, but not with a living trust. Living trusts protect your privacy since they aren't public records, but some property (or certain property in certain states) can't be transferred in a living trust and requires a will. Both are pretty easy to do on your own, there are numerous templates available for the different states and you might only need an attorney to make sure you've dotted your I's and crossed your T's.
Here's a good summary of the similarities and differences:
Living Trust v. Will | Nolo.com
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You need a will no matter what. Whether or not a living trust would benefit you vs. what it costs to set up is a personal decision. I would think that they are very uncommon for people with relatively straightforward estates and life insurance to tide you over through the probate process. I would also assume you have durable power of attorney agreements and/or a living will/advanced medical directive signed with your husband. I personally would not do the documents myself but would use an attorney.
My wills and estates professor's mantra was "Should coulda made a will" Dying intestate can be so incredibly hard on the family members, and can get incredibly ugly.
We have both. A good friend of ours is an estate attorney, he set it all up for us. Ours is not to complicated, but the trust gave us some good concrete knowledge of where the money would go and we put my FIL as the executor of the trust with the hope that the money would grow and the kids would have money for a long time to come
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
Can I ask a question? No need to answer if it makes anyone uncomfortable.
What would you pay to have your will done? We reached out to an attorney we know in our neighborhood but the price he asked for, even when he cut it down for us, was insane. What's the ballpark you can expect? We are way behind on this and need to take care of it.
Laurie, mom to:
Nathaniel ( 10 ) and Juliet ( 6 )
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