Skip to main content


Wills and Trusts Kit For Dummies

Aaron Larson

ISBN: 978-0-470-50771-1 March 2009 384 Pages


Navigate probate, tax issues, and state laws

Create an estate plan and protect your family's interests

Need a will, but have no idea where to start? This friendly guide shows youhow to prepare a legal will or trust — either on your own or with professional help — and ensure that your wishes are honored. You'll handle everything from planning your bequests and writing and signing a will to selecting a trust and drafting your durable power of attorney.

Discover how to:

  • Provide for your children

  • Hire and work with professionals

  • Minimize tax liabilities

  • Amend or revoke a will or trust

  • Avoid common estate planning mistakes

Note: CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of eBook file.

Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Started with Your Will or Trust 7

Chapter 1: Ensuring That Your Last Wishes Are Honored 9

Chapter 2: Making Crucial Decisions 25

Chapter 3: Gathering Pertinent Information 39

Chapter 4: Planning Your Bequests 49

Chapter 5: Providing for Your Children and Dependents 67

Chapter 6: Dipping into Your Pocket: The Tax Man (and Others) 75

Part II: Everything You Need to Know about Wills 93

Chapter 7: Writing and Signing a Will 95

Chapter 8: Navigating the Land Mines 111

Chapter 9: When You Already Have a Will 127

Chapter 10: Estate Administration: What Happens in Probate Court 137

Part III: Trust Me! How Trusts Work 149

Chapter 11: The Anatomy of a Trust 151

Chapter 12: Dead or Alive: Picking Your Trust 163

Chapter 13: When You Already Have a Trust 183

Part IV: Carrying Out the Intent of Your Will and Trust 193

Chapter 14: Planning for Your Incapacity 195

Chapter 15: Those Cushy Retirement Funds 217

Chapter 16: Life Insurance: Making Sure It Doesn’t Backfire 229

Chapter 17: Your Castle: How It’s Owned Makes a Huge Difference 241

Part V: The Part of Tens 257

Chapter 18: Ten Common Will Mistakes 259

Chapter 19: Ten Reasons to Have a Trust 267

Chapter 20: Ten Tax Traps to Avoid When Planning Your Estate 273

Part VI: Appendixes 281

Appendix A: State Signing Requirements 283

Appendix B: State Inheritance Taxes 307

Appendix C: Estate Planning Questionnaire 311

Appendix D: About the CD 333

Index 337