My wife and I are in our 70s and are planning to make a will. Is it advisable to have our bank accounts and stock in joint names or in trust for one another when we make a will? We want to avoid probate. We have no children. -- D. P.
When you make a will, you provide for the disposition of your assets under all foreseeable contingencies. However, a will must go through probate if it is more than a simple disposition of limited assets. Jointly owning your bank accounts and stocks will not affect your will. If you wish to avoid probate, you should establish a living trust and turn over the management of your assets to a friend or bank as trustee. The living trust provides for management of your assets while either or both of you are alive and disposes of the assets according to the trust agreement after the second death. You should consult an attorney about setting up a livin g trust; it is not a do-it-yourself project for most persons