By: Todd Bauman/ Financial Focus
Living Trust vs. The Will: What Do You Need?
The short answer to this question is both. You need both a living trust and a will.
You might think of it like this: the will is your last testament; it’s what you write to communicate your wishes. The Living Trust is the vehicle that carries out those wishes.
Without the vehicle, all you have is the paper, which is why doing only a will might still result in your intentions being carried out, but your entire holdings will have to pass through probate which is an expensive and time-consuming process.
I sometimes joke and say that if you complete a proper living trust, then all you have to write in your Will is, “Being of sound mind and body, I SPENT IT ALL.” While this is funny, it is also somewhat true, because when you set up a trust, you essentially no longer own anything.
You do, however, still get to decide where your money will go. You can also change your mind. If one of your kids comes to Las Vegas to visit, puts a few bucks in the slot machine, and hits megabucks for $30 million, well, then you can take them out of your trust, not because you don’t love them anymore, but because they don’t need your pittance of an estate!
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