Living Trusts for Everyone {Book Review}

Living Trusts for Everyone

Why a Will is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates

by Ronald Farrington Sharp

Excerpt by Allworth Press
Ronald Sharp explains trusts in clear and easy-to-understand language, including one truth most lawyers don’t want to admit: A trust is often better than a will and less costly! Wills benefit lawyers. Trusts benefit families. Without all of the technical jargon included in most law books, Living Trusts for Everyone highlights the benefits of trusts and how to avoid unnecessary legal expenses.

Readers will find information on:

  • understanding the different types of trusts
  • how to fund a trust
  • the role of trustees and guardians
  • selecting an expert attorney to draft the trust
  • whether trust seminars are useful
  • who absolutely must have a trust

Not only can probate be avoided with trusts, but lesser-known advantages include easier asset management for children and disabled heirs, estate tax reduction, avoiding court-ordered conservatorship, and a simpler and less costly settlement process than with a will. Even readers who already have trusts can benefit by determining whether a trust is a good one or needs to be updated. The book also includes step-by-step instructions explaining what to do when the maker of a trust dies. Sample forms and letters assist the family in the settlement process.

My Take

This is an excellent book about Living Trusts! Especially if you are looking to save potentially thousands of dollars in lawyer fees {not to mention time and effort at the lawyer’s office}.

It literally answers any and all questions one has about living trusts {answered ALL of my questions – especially because I have my children to think about}. And mentions the benefits of having a trust: assest management, tax reduction, probate avoidence {that’s a big one}, and for those wishing to avoid court ordered conservatorship should they become disabled as to be unable to manage their own affairs. Oh ya, a lot of other benefits are defined in this book when you read it.

But I think the best thing of all, atop all the key points listed above, it comes with a set of instructions to follow at death. {I wish someone gave me a key list like this when I got married about what and how to change all my paperwork!}

Ronald Farrington Sharp, attorney himself, tells it like it is in attorney land, too – the schemes and tactics used to help make attorneys rich {Wow, they can make lots of money to hold your files in a cabinet}. I got a kick from some of the potentially costly methods.

But Ronald Sharp offers great advice on how to choose an attorney and what to watch out for. Because having the guidance of an attorney is very beneficial when planning your estate. Your life is not as simple as a fill-in-the-lines-with-a-printed-document-obtained-from-any-legal-forms-website. Obtain an attorney to help you plan your estate and wrapping up your estate at death = good. Finding an attorney you trust to help you with these matters = perfect!

Don’t think you have an estate?

Don’t put the notion aside until you read this book! Seriously. I didn’t think I had an ‘estate’ until I read this book. I am getting myself a living trust. Cased Closed. ;)

More Information on Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates by Ronald Farrington Sharp can be found at Amazon.com

16 thoughts on “Living Trusts for Everyone {Book Review}

  1. Darren

    Hmm… I’d be interested in learning about the tactics and schemes they use to get rich, and how to go about choosing one.

    Thanks for the review!

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      As with any profession, there are those that don’t play honest. It was a good read, because I liked his no hold back approach to telling it like it is.

      Reply
  2. Evan

    Trust and Estates Attorney here.

    A living trust will do NOTHING to reduce taxes as compared to a properly drafted Will. Additionally, assets ONLY bypasses probate if they are owned by the living trust. So you have to rename your checking account to “MoneyFunk as Trustee of the Money Funk Revocable Living Trust” the same with your house, investment accounts etc.

    Oh by the way most attorneys draft the documents and then don’t follow up with the transfer of the assets so you accomplished nothing when it comes to bypassing probate.

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      Haha. I knew you were an attorney of some kind. Glad you came on over. I wanted to hear another view. I did read that about assets needing to be owned by the living trust. Thank you for quoting that to me, MFTMFRLT. I think like it’s lengthy acronym, it could be a pain to transfer the assets?

      And I did read that even if I have a Living Trust with my assets in regards to setting up funds for my children, I still need a Will in regards to their guardianship upon my death.

      It all sounds so complicated. This is why many people don’t do it, huh?

      Reply
  3. Everyday Tips

    I felt so much better after setting up our will and trust. Having guardians named for our kids was a huge relief. Evan is right, we had to handle the transferring of assets to the trust, which was a pain. But, I am glad it is all done.

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      So you have a will and trust? I know I don’t have much and its automatic my son would go with his father, if something happened. But my daughter… she is the main reason I need to get a will and trust set up.

      Reply
      1. Everyday Tips

        Well, I wanted that guardian named in the event both my husband and I died. (Again, was terrified of us both flying to New York and creating 3 orphans. I know that sounds horrible, but I wanted to have my bases covered.)

        For the trust, I also wanted some control over what age the kids received what if we both passed. I was never worried about having everything set up if just one of us passed. I was worried if we both went at the same time.

        Reply
  4. Jenna

    Does the book have real examples of people setting up living trusts? I’d be interested to hear those stories.

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      No, that it does not. But that is a great idea. I think because of laws, they wouldn’t be able to disclose. Of course, all names could be fictional.

      Reply
      1. Jenna

        I think there are ways around that, “30 something mom of three in California” for example.

        Reply
  5. Derek Sisterhen | Past Due Radio

    Thanks for the post on estate planning. Unfortunately, far too many folks put this on the back burner, exposing themselves and their families to unnecessary financial risk. We did a survey recently and found that nearly 65% of respondents didn’t have a basic will.

    Thanks, Evan, for your insight. My estate planning attorney also made it very clear that a will is a necessity regardless of whether you have a trust in place. She also helped us with powers of attorney (durable and health care) and HIPAA release forms.

    Thanks for shedding some light on this, Christine!

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      I do not have a basic will :(
      I think because many of us fear the unknown; especially law. It’s so complicated! Or so it seems. Plus the costs for setting up a will and living trust are not so cheap.

      Powers of Attorney and HIPAA release forms, check.
      Will and Trust, up next.

      Reply
  6. Carol@inthetrenhces

    Hi Christine, I recently did a review of this book also and agree with you that it is an excellent book. It is amazing that so many don’t have a will or other arrangements made. The biggest benefit of a trust is not just that it protects a family wihen someone dies but also is a protection if they become physically or mentally diminished which realistically happens to us all. People often think that these things (including estate taxes and fees) are only important to the rich but actually it is quite the opposite. The rich already have taken the time to put their affairs in order. It is us regular people who don’t plan ahead so get all our assets disbursed to the professionals. I’ve seen it happen. Here’s my review if your readers would like a second opinion http://inthetrenches2009.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-review-living-trusts-for-everybody.html

    Reply
    1. Money Funk

      Thank you for including your review.

      We all think, ‘its not going to happen to me’. And time and time again… we see cases that it does.
      You’re right about us regular people not considering such notions. But I can see it is very important. I think the other issue for us, is the upfront costs to having a will and living trusts drafted. It’s not cheap. But something definitely worth saving for or using a tax return on.

      Reply
  7. Aury (Thunderdrake)

    Since intellectual property is going to be a huge component of my asset column, the challenging aspect I was thinking about was how to have a place to properly hold all the royalties. For tax reduction and legacy purposes, I was wondering if there was a trust I could established tailored to such particular needs.

    Hmm. I might have to look into that book…

    Reply

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