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Will? Living Trust? Or Both?

A will takes effect upon the death of the person who makes the will, and is a public document.  A revocable living trust, on the other hand, is a private document.  It takes effect during the life of the person establishing the trust (the grantor), and is used to hold and manage the grantor’s assets during life, as well as in the event of disability and following the grantor’s death.

A living trust may be more expensive to draft and set up than a simple will, and there may be ongoing trustee fees if a bank or trust company is named as a successor trustee.  However, assets in a living trust will not be subject to probate and, therefore, may save expenses following the grantor’s death.

People with modest estates and those who live in states where probate is short, simple and inexpensive might not need a living trust.  But anyone with a complex estate or who owns property in different states might benefit from a living trust.

Whether your estate includes a simple will, a living trust or both, you can include charitable gifts.  If your living trust provides gifts during your lifetime, you will be entitled to a charitable deduction on your personal return.  If your estate is subject to estate tax, gifts through a will or living trust will qualify for an estate tax charitable deduction.


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Contact the KQED Gift Planning department for more information or to notify us if we are included in your estate plan.

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