Can you afford not to have a trust?

If you can afford to leave your spouse, kids or significant others a very large pile of money to spend when you are no longer around, you might want to skip the expense and inconvenience of making a will or setting up a trust. But that’s probably not your best move. Certainly as far as your beneficiaries are concerned. But if you leave them with a substantial cash stash to spend after your demise they may get by fine, while the courts decide what’s what and who’s who in your financial life. If you leave enough, they will probably get by until the courts take over and handle the matter. In six months if you are lucky. Maybe a year if your affairs are complicated, which most are. If you have a house, car(s), debts and credit cards some would say you have an estate.

Although some find it a grim subject, most of the people we leave behind will know what you wanted. A will and an estate plan can reduce or mitigate hard feelings among survivors. Maybe prevent decades-long feuds among children, siblings or spouses over what you wanted. To the question “should you have a will and an estate plan,” the answer, especially if you work or retired from the federal government, is usually yes! Which is why our Your Turn guest today is Tom O’Rourke. He’s a former IRS attorney who now specializes in tax and estate law.