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To avoid making a will public can a simple trust be used and upon death the trust abides by the content of the will.

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The estate consists of real estate (no mortgage) and one auto (no liens).

Attorney Answers 4


  1. A Will is always part of the public record. A Trust generally is not. You may be able to avoid probate without the need for a trust, given your relatively simple needs. You should discuss this with an estate planning lawyer to determine what your best option is. You will want durable power of attorney forms, no matter what other planning tools you decide on.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


  2. A trust can include all of the information a will includes, so that no probate is necessary and the document will remain private. However, an estate will not avoid probate, even with a trust, if all of the assets are not transferred to the trust name.


  3. The will is always a public document. But a trust is a private one. So if you create a living trust while alive and place all of your assets including the real estate and the auto (although this is a clumsy way to do it legally) then these assets are privately held in the trust. However, prudence always dictates having a will with a pourover provision to such trust in the event you missed some assets or your estate ends up being entitled to some assets such as from a wrongful death or other suit brought by the estate. Get with an estate planning attorney and do not try this on your own.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336, his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , for more tax, estate and business articles visit his website www.sjfpc.com. and blog

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  4. A trust can be used to avoid a public administration. The trust would state who the property should go to at death and the Trustee would follow the terms of the trust to divide the property once the trustmaker has passed away. It is very important that the assets be transferred to the trust during the trustmaker's lifetime in order to avoid probate. To transfer a house to the trust, your attorney would prepare a new deed to the Trustee. To transfer a car to the trust, you would sign the title over to the Trustee. It is important to speak with your attorney about the pros and cons of transferring certain property into trust. For example, it is not always advisable to transfer a home into trust and your attorney can advise you whether it makes sense in your situation to do so.

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