My husband and I have already sat down and worked out between ourselves what our intentions are with regards to our will - our preferred guardians and financial guardians for the children, etc. We also have individual life insurance policies. Our insurance company has recommended that instead of naming the kids as beneficiaries, we establish a living trust and use that instead. What are the pros and cons to a living trust, and how do I create one? Does it work in tandem with a will? We can't really afford to spend a ton of money on a lawyer (or...any money, really) - can I create a trust without one?

asked 02 Oct '09, 18:41

erin's gravatar image

accept rate: 31%


You may want to try asking this over at as well.

(02 Oct '09, 19:05) Scott ♦♦

Thanks! I started off by asking whether or not I even wanted or needed a living trust but it seemed like a pretty subjective question, so I stuck with the nuts and bolts.

(02 Oct '09, 20:36) erin

The probate laws are different in each state. For instance we currently live in Washington (USA) and our lawyer said we didn't need a living trust, however we do own property in California (USA) and so he said we might want to get one for that property because the laws are different in California...or something like that. hehe I'm not very good with this stuff.

There was one thing that I wanted to share with you that might be helpful. We were fortunate to have our will covered by my husband's company, but if it wasn't we would have gone through our University. Many Universities/Colleges give large discounts to their Alumni to have a will drawn up. Ours would have been $200 if we went through our University. So if this may apply to you, you might want to check it out. :)


answered 03 Oct '09, 05:39

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

I got my living trust for $700 because I dealt with a paralegal who prepared everything and then ran it by an attorney for assurance. I thought it was well worth it.

Basically, a living trust is an entity that represents all of your assets. You and your spouse are the trustors (it's for your benefit) as well as the trustees. When you die or are otherwise incapacitated, your named successor trustees are responsible to take over the trust and fulfill the wishes of the trustors. Since your assets are titled in the trust's name (hence, in the trust) and the trust is still extant, there is no probate and no estate taxes.

That is the benefit of a living trust. The con is that you really need to get it set up correctly or your beneficiaries will end up in probate anyways. And that involves a competent lawyer, which means it can get expensive.

Beyond that, remember that I Am Not A Lawyer. I just had one done last year.


answered 03 Oct '09, 03:20

bbrown's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

Any documents like that really should go through a lawyer. If you are saavy you can probably do enough research to get one done yourself but realize that it may not be air tight. I think there are 'kits' out there that you can buy but your best bet is to do your research, look for precedent, draft something as complete as you can and then take that to a lawyer for approval. That will save a heap in legal bills but still make sure that its as thorough as it needs to be in the eyes of the law.


answered 02 Oct '09, 23:22

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 02 Oct '09, 18:41

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Last updated: 03 Oct '09, 05:39