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They say that just like annuities, living trusts are being heavily promoted and often are sold for excessive fees to people who don't need them. Much depends on the probate requirements in your mother's state. In some states like New Jersey, living trusts are not recommended. However, if your mother's estate is larger than the $675K Federal Estate Tax deduction (slowly increasing to $1MM), she should be looking at an estate plan.

Look out for promoters. Get help from a local attorney who specializes in estate law. Get recommendations from your friends and relatives.

The continuing education department of my high school recently offered a 2 hr course on living trusts for $9.50. Not a bad way to begin. Of course the attorney who taught the course was looking for new business.
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