Living trusts and wills

By , Business correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

I have a will and a living trust. Is it true that money left in a trust does not go through probate and thus leaves more for the heirs? I had a will drawn while a resident in the East; then after moving to Florida, had a will drawn here and the trust set up. My attorney up North says I may have made a mistake, while others say I have done the right thing. What is the best course? - J. A. While we hesitate to step between legal opinions, it sounds as if you have done the right thing.

It is true that money in a trust does not go through probate, saving your heirs the court costs and administrative expenses of this procedure. It also saves time, as the assets can be passed on immediately. The trust should be written in the state in which you reside. One reason for this is that some states will let you be your own trustee; others require a co-trustee.

But even if you have a trust, you should also have a will, to cover any assets that may not be specifically included in the trust, and to make any specific bequests to friends or relatives not mentioned in the trust. Also, there are some things that cannot or should not be included in a trust. These include cars, jewelry, furnishings, and stock in a professional corporation, as most states say the stockholder has to be from the same profession.

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If you would like a question considered for publication in this column, please send it to Moneywise, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. No personal replies can be given by mail or phone. References to investments are not an endorsement or recommendation by this newspaper.m

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