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Do I Need a Living Trust, or Is a Simple Will Enough?

Deciding whether you require a “living trust” or just a “simple will” depends on your individual needs.

A living trust can give you more flexibility, control and the ability to continually manage your estate and affairs, but will cost more money upfront.

A simple will does not cost as much, but also doesn’t offer as much flexibility. Even if you have a living trust, you should also have a simple will.

A big factor in your decision is going to be the value of your estate. If you do not own property ― or own property of little value ― a simple will may be all you need. However, if you own property high in value, then a living trust might be a better choice due to the probate process and the complexity that occurs with dividing larger estates.

The expense of a living trust will need to be justified. If you have assets valued at $100,000 or less, a living trust is probably not necessary. When you have over $1 million in assets ― which includes things such as your home or life insurance ― a living trust is more justifiable.

To help you determine which mechanism is best for your particular situation, consider the suggestions to the commonly asked questions below:

Do you intend to leave your assets to your children? If so, then it is best to opt for a simple will.
Are your estate plans simple? If so, you may not need a living trust.
Would you like court supervision over your estate and affairs? If yes, then you will want to go with a simple will.
Hopefully these suggestions have provided some assistance on deciding whether to use a simple will or living trust to divide up your assets. If you are having still difficulty in making a decision, it is best to seek the advice of an estate planning lawyer for further guidance.