ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Picking a will or a trust; which one do you need?

Columnist Dave Ramsey says everyone needs a will, but not everyone needs a trust.

Dave Says — Dave Ramsey column sig
We are part of The Trust Project.

Dear Dave,

How do you know if a will or a trust is best for you?

— Monica

Also Read
Cherry Grove Cowboy Church will be held Sunday, Dec. 4.
Columnist Dave Ramsey says old debt is still debt you owe.
Messiah Sing-In will feature local musicians and audience participation to perform selections from Handel's Messiah.

Dear Monica,

This is a great question, especially since August is National Make-a-Will Month. The first thing you should do is take a serious look at your needs, your wishes and your overall life and financial circumstances.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re like the average person with a couple of kids, a home and some savings, a will is all you need. There’s no reason to bring lawyers into the mix, unless there’s something complicated about your situation. In cases like this, you can even set one up online that’s perfectly legal in just a few minutes.

If you’re older, your kids are grown and your estate is worth $1 million or more, a trust is the way to go. By doing this, you can avoid probate in a way that wills don’t allow. Now, if you have a large estate and dependents, having both a will and a trust is a good idea. And you don’t have to worry about the two bumping into each other. They’re separate legal instruments, and there’s generally no conflict between them. If there is a legitimate, legal conflict between them, the trust usually overrides the will.

Simply put, everyone needs a will. But not everyone needs a trust. Trusts can be more than you need, but they can also be a great tool if you have a larger estate. So, if you’re in the vast majority of folks who don’t need a trust, just get yourself a will. You’ll spend a lot less money and feel so much better knowing your stuff will go to the right people – and that your family will be taken care of!

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com .

What to read next
When we look into the heavens at night, what we see isn't what's really going on.
The rental near U.S. Highway 61 shares fictional moments in Winona’s history: a giant squid in East Lake Winona, Bigfoot’s enjoyment of Bloedow Bakery, robots defeating aliens at a Sugarloaf Intergalactic Gas Station and a secret NASA base at Video Vision.
Oakenwald Terrace shows off Ellen Lovell’s exquisite vision for the home as the original owner in 1896. Bob and Ruth Ann Lund have shared stories of the home's history as bed and breakfast owners since 2003.
Columnist Dwight Boyum says Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist, was a friend he never met but feels the loss of.