Will vs. Living Trust

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560
Will vs. Living Trust

Assume you had three minor children, a house, and life insurance. Would you go with a Will or a Living Trust?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

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

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

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.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

My wills and estates professor's mantra was "Should coulda made a will" Smile Dying intestate can be so incredibly hard on the family members, and can get incredibly ugly.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

I would suggest both too.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Thanks for the ideas Smile

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

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

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

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.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

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.

I would like to know this as well if no one minds. After the recent passing of my friend, DH and I sat down and hashed out everything. Who would get the kids, executor of the estate, and everything. I will admit to being lost though on how to get it onto paper for a reasonable amount. We have looked into LegalZoom.com and it is about $200 for a will and $400 for a Living trust. At that point, is it just as expensive as going to a Lawyer?

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

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.

I will PM you.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

We used WillMaker. It's a software program from Quicken (makers of Quickbooks accounting software) and Nolo (publisher of lots of legal advice books & websites). The software walked us through some basic questions about our life situation, we entered all the info about us & the kids & our assets & liabilities, and it filled everything out. The living trust is online but access is free with the will software, and the software includes other stuff like temporary guardianship papers, durable power of attorney, information for loved ones about where to find everything, stuff like that. It reflects the local laws of all states except Louisiana. We had the final documents reviewed by a local lawyer who charged us, I think it was $250 for everything and includes if we make changes within a year. We found him through the WillMaker attorney network that you get access to with the software. The cost was very reasonable and he gave us a pretty fast turnaround, which I appreciated*. He found two small mistakes that we had made, which we corrected, then we printed new copies, had them properly witnessed, sent copies off to a couple different people, and hopefully we don't need them for a very very long time.

*My mom & stepdad were in the middle of setting up a living trust when he died. The lawyer had originally done it wrong and then dragged his feet on making the correction, and my stepdad died before it was done. Because he died intestate, it was a complete disaster, my mom ended up losing the vacation home they'd built together, my stepbrother & stepsister are no longer part of the family, just a complete disaster. I was so afraid of that happening, that we'd have finally taken the steps and then one of us would die before it was completed. I'm not normally the paranoid type.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Potter75" wrote:

I will PM you.

Quoted for reference.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Quoted for reference.

? Yes Bonita, people can pm. You cannot talk about the content of pm"s. CONTENT. now I have my hot sexy on and I'm off to dinner so have a wonderful evening.

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