daniel best picThis week’s question: SHOULD I HAVE A LIVING TRUST?


QUESTION:  I attended a free seminar in a hotel ballroom last weekend about estate planning where I was informed I needed a living trust to complete my estate plan. The cost was more than I can afford to pay right now. Is it necessary that I have a living trust to put my affairs in order?

ANSWER: It depends on your situation. While there are distinct advantages to investing in a living trust as part of an estate plan, the investment doesn’t necessarily pay off for everyone. The advantages of a living trust include avoiding probate when you die, the ability to dispose of real property in different states with one document, and the ability to manage affairs during your lifetime. Your loved ones usually, but not always, receive the assets given to them from your trust more quickly than they would through probate. The terms and conditions included in a living trust are largely kept private and not made part of a public record.

On the other hand, a simple will, power of attorney, and health care directive adequately address the needs of many people in planning for their loved ones – and at a much lower cost. While tax savings can be gained by investing in a trust, in certain cases those gains are offset by the higher cost of drafting the trust document.

To make the decision that’s right for you, we recommend consulting with an attorney to properly assess your individual situation. Factors such as the size, nature, and location of your assets, and the needs of your beneficiaries may make the benefits of investing in a living trust a good value. In other cases, a simple will, power of attorney, and health care directive will achieve your objectives at a lower cost. An initial consultation with an experienced attorney before you invest in a living trust can save you money by choosing an estate plan to meet your needs and budget.

The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at


By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq. Attorney and Counselor at Law GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC 901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 247-3300 (248) 247-3310 facsimile