DO I NEED A WILL OR A TRUST? by Taylor Phillip  Willingham


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A lawyer uses humor to enliven a discourse on wills and trusts.

Willingham (Why Should I Care? I’ll Be Dead, 2017) directly and authoritatively answers the question posed in the book’s title, but he does so in a style that’s enjoyable, conversational, and engaging. Each chapter in this book of legal advice starts with an amusing quotation from comedian Jim Gaffigan, which makes it anything but stuffy. The author intuitively divides it into three parts that discuss the definitions of legal terms, the basic differences between wills and trusts, and the reasons to create a trust. An instructive introduction is augmented by an excellent “Trust or Only Will Decision Chart” that clearly lays out whether a trust is advisable in a given situation. In first part of the book, Willingham candidly, and humorously, writes about “Wordy Lawyer Words”: “Like doctors, lawyers need to make things confusing so we can charge a lot of money.” He goes on to deftly explain common legal terms and define types of property from a legal perspective. There’s also a useful discussion of estate planning, as well as what might happen if one doesn’t adequately look ahead. The second part of the book includes a clear comparison of “probate with no will” and “probate with will.” For readers considering a trust, the third section lays out numerous reasons to go with that option, as well as a rundown of various types of trusts. Willingham uses relevant examples from his own practice, as well as hypothetical cases as he intelligently discusses beneficiaries and estate taxes, among other issues. The author’s “Tips and Tricks” in the book’s third part are noteworthy in that they not only suggest possible strategies for creating certain trusts, but also ways to reduce legal fees.

A witty, digestible legal guide.

Pub Date: June 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-07-063083-0
Page count: 175pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019