Will or Living Trust – To be or not to Be!

Will or Living Trust – To be or not to Be!

I do not know if I need just a will or a living trust. A am a single woman with 5 grown children. I haven't any debts, own my home and car. Have CD's with each of the children equally as beneficiaries, a life insurance policy with the oldest child as beneficiary so she can pay my burial expenses. She is also on my checking and saving accounts. At my death I wish for my house and car to be sold and the money divided among my children. As for personal property I plan to give to each what they have asked for and the rest sold. Would you recommend a will or living will?


First, whether you use a will or revocable trust assets with named beneficiaries or joint accounts will transfer to those persons, regardless of what a will or trust may say. So what you really need is an overall estate plan to determine who should get what, and what should be done. Only then can you properly answer the question.

A living trust is a tremendous tool for protecting you in the event of illness or disability. When combined with a power of attorney, living will and health care proxy it might obviate the need for a guardianship. Protecting YOU as a person should be your first priority. If you had a better understanding of all the appropriate uses of a living trust, the answer might be obvious to you. You can try The Complete Living Trust Program published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. You can get it from www.amazon.com. It will give you some important insights that will differ from the usual marketing information most consumers are exposed to on living trusts.

A few additional thoughts should be considered.

  • If your property and casualty insurance is not adequate a fire or other risk could decimate your estate. No issue then as to who inherits. This is why a comprehensive plan is necessary for everyone.
  • Even if you have a living trust, you should have a pour over will. This should probably not be a 2 pager that many use. See the above book for details.
  • If your savings are all in CDs, depending on your age you might outlive your money! Not a happy thought. This is why you need a comprehensive estate and financial plan, not merely to decide if a will or living trust should be used.
    • If you sense a theme there is one. Consult with an estate specialist in your state and get an overall plan that addresses all of your issues. Nothing else will protect you and your loved ones.

Our Consumer Webcasts and Blogs

Subscribe to our email list to receive information on consumer webcasts and blogs, for practical legal information in simple English, delivered to your inbox. For more professional driven information, please visit Shenkman Law to subscribe.

Ad Space