The Living Trust : The Failproof Way to Pass Along Your Estate to Your Heirs

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The Living Trust : The Failproof Way to Pass Along Your Estate to Your Heirs [Paperback]

Henry Abts
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 9, 2002

If you are concerned about estate planning you may be surprised that, even with a will, the probate system can eat up as much as 10 percent of an inheritance and delay the process two years. In The Living Trust, noted living trust authority Henry Abts presents a simple, inexpensive legal alternative that eliminates the costs and delays of probate and ensures that your loved ones will receive their inheritance promptly and exactly as you intended. This new edition has been completely updated to reflect the federal tax codes and up-to-the-minute developments in the legal system.

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The Living Trust : The Failproof Way to Pass Along Your Estate to Your Heirs + Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates + Make Your Own Living Trust
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Bible on How to Avoid Probate, Revised and Updated

"[The Living Trust] is unquestionably the layman's most nearly complete source on living trusts. . . . Recommended reading for anyone who wants to maximize his net estate left to heirs, speed asset distribution after death, avoid will challenges, minimize estate costs, and maintain privacy."
—Robert Bruss, Esq., and nationally syndicated real estate columnist, Chicago Tribune

You may think your heirs have been well provided for, but did you know that:

  • Your loved ones may have to wait more than two years before receiving a penny from your estate—even though you have left a legally valid will?
  • Costs of probating your will may eat up more than 10 percent of your estate—money your heirs will never receive?
  • The specific instructions of your bequest may be contested or changed completely—even though clearly spelled out in your will?
  • A will cannot help you in life? If you become incapacitated or your judgment comes into question, it becomes a matter for the courts to decide and is a very public process.

A living trust is a simple, inexpensive legal alternative that eliminates the costs and delays of probate and ensures that your loved ones will receive their inheritance promptly and exactly as you intended. The Living Trust—the bible of how to avoid probate—will show you how to take full advantage of this critical estate-planning tool. This updated edition of The Living Trust includes the latest information on trust formations, tax changes, distribution rules, and more. It also offers:

  • Insight into abuses within the probate system
  • Advice on how to protect your business, savings, and retirement funds from frivolous lawsuits
  • The effects of the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 on estate tax, gift tax, the generation-skipping tax, and stepped-up valuation
  • Sample and ancillary documents, including the estate preservation and tax-saving documents, the living will, and costs of living trust, all updated to reflect the latest tax changes and living trust requirements

About the Author

A nationally recognized authority on living trusts, Henry W. Abts III is chairman and founder of The Estate Plan, the nation's oldest and largest living trust production corporation, responsible for creating more than 60,000 living trusts.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 3 Revised edition (October 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071387099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071387095
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for living trust development February 20, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A living trust must be written by a lawyer. However, if you don't know what questions to ask or what information should be included, especially splitting of assets, most lawyers will not volunteer any helpful information. The resulting trust may not work the way you planned. Once one of the original settlors dies, their portion becomes part of a bypass trust that can't be changed. The survivor must live with whatever is defined in the bypass trust. At the time of death of the first settlor, all assets are divided between at least two trusts: the survivor's trust and the bypass trust. If the original trust is not written carefully and thoughtfully, making corrections are costly and may be impossible.

This book, The Living Trust by Henry Apts III, is a revised edition published in 2003, the last update before Mr. Apts passing. An important companion book is Henry Apts "How To Settle Your Living Trust", published in 1999. Henry Apts started a company "The Estate Plan" which he franchised to various independent estate planners. Some controversy has surrounded some of these independent planners using The Estate Plan but this should not be construed as judgement against the Living Trust books.

I have used these books for the last thirteen years as trustee to two living trusts and have found the information to be fairly accurate and a good basis to begin detail research from. Definitely don't ever, ever rely solely on a lawyer to develop your trust. I am a survivor of a irrevocable trust written by a prominent trust lawyer, since retired, now trying to sort out problems he created. Three lawyers later, I believe I have found a competent lawyer who truly understands trusts even though I have had to have him correct some of his own documents - keep in mind that I'm not a lawyer, just a layman who learns by trial and error.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
After reading Abts book on the Living Trust, I followed the author's recommendations, collected ALL pertinent documents and now they are in one place. If you want peace of mind regarding how to protect your assets, this book is the one to guide you through the process. It is a priceless reference source on an on-going basis. The book is straight-forward, well written, easy to understand and follow; I highly recommend it.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book served to warn me of lawyers and the non-objective views they have. Just in time information that is clear. Please read before talking to ANY lawyer. I have seen some real dancing when I questioned advice given. I would have been completely taken by what I thought was in my best interests had I not read the book. Now to find a lawyer that can do the small parts, with out trying to provide for his/her retirement. The book tends to repeat a bit, but perhaps that is the only way to set the information in our minds. The collection of Falicy and Fact is worth the price of the book all by itself. I used it with the lawyer and she acknowledged the correct answers. Too late for her. Trust can't be regained on my nickel.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST BOOK on this subject - Period! July 24, 2004
Henry Abts is the foremost authority on the workings of a Living Trust in the nation. After researching more I learned that Henry was basically the pioneer of hte living trust industry and has collected the best legal minds to help him in his handling of this important subject.

This book is the best and most easily understood reference in print today. Henry has a special and unique talent of taking a complex and difficult subject and then break it down so that it is both understandable and interesting.

After reading this book twice, I did a lot more research and everything else I learned was already addressed by Henry. He also has another book on settling the Living Trust that helped me greatly. This is my way of saying thanks to a great author and educator. You will not be disappointed in this book.

rh from California
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best I found. January 13, 2003
By A Customer
It is not for writing your own trust, but it was by far the best for the legal information, explanations and especially case scenarios. After reading 3-4 other books, I found this to have the clearest presentation of a complex subject; but of even greater value--it gave common (but unknown to me and not mentioned in other books) alternatives for dealing with problem personal situations like irresponsible children or family. Ex: dividing estate into three dispursements given out at five year intervals to give heirs a chance to "blow it" and then grow up. Because of this book alone, I was able to make decisions I was finally comfortable with.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Living Trust November 10, 2001
I was interested in getting an living trust about ten years ago. After visiting three living trust seminars,I came to the conclusion that the lawyers making the presentation probably knew less about living trusts than I did, which was not much although I had taken a course in Wills, Trusts and Estates in my undergraduate years. So I came to the conclusion that I'd better get self-educated fast. I didn't want some highly educated lawyer "going to school" on my money. I searched libraries and book stores for months for "how to do it " books and finally discovered Abts book. While a bit on the "wordy" side with side stories, I found it to be what I believed to be a sound common sense approach to the subject. I signed on with Abts Estate Plan and have all my property titled in the trust. I was also delighted to learn that Abts organization sends out a "newsletter" from time to time regarding changes in trust law. I heartly recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Save Money
You can save your self a lot of money by reading this book and doing your own Living tust. I did!
Published 9 days ago by Charles D. Simmons
4.0 out of 5 stars A very easy way to become an "expert" regarding your personal will
A very easy way to become an "expert" regarding your personal will. Everyone should read it to avoid the ridiculous probate fees that will be attached to any will that is... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Lois
5.0 out of 5 stars The One Book To Read BEFORE You Die...
This is THE book on "Living Trusts". When I compare what they do with regular attorneys, they leave the attorneys in the dust. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William B. Ellern
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very helpful Thanks
Published 2 months ago by LINDA RAE SCHWASS
5.0 out of 5 stars educational and easy reading.
very informative, educational and easy reading.
Published 4 months ago by katherine l benko
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST!!!
It is SO sad that most people have been brainwashed into thinking a Will is the best way to go in asset allocation. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Lora Towler
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Trusts
Very informative though it's outdated since federal laws are always changing. The authors explains all the different types of trusts and how they will allow you to avoid probate... Read more
Published 19 months ago by nanaeve
5.0 out of 5 stars More than indispensable
This book saved my bacon. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

My parents did the duty of going to an attorney to draw up a living trust. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Phil (San Diego)
5.0 out of 5 stars Protection for us all
This information is essential if you want an orderly transfer of assets for your estate. it is also an effective tool for avoiding high taxation.
Published 21 months ago by Harry Jameson
4.0 out of 5 stars Procrastination is NOT a good estate planning tool!
The Living Trust is in the third edition printing...if the Congress decides what it is going to do for the country a Fourth Edition of this planning guide would/could be well... Read more
Published on November 20, 2012 by cropdstr
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