Q.: We have two children. Our daughter is the executor of our estate, because she lives closer than our son. We are in our late 60s. The majority of our estate is in our home. My husband and I are in disagreement on whether we should have a living trust or just a will. We want to avoid probate if at all possible. –Reader, via email
A.: You can avoid probate by putting your home and other assets in a living trust, but I can't see any reason in the world to do that. Probate really is a relatively painless process for an uncomplicated estate, which is what you have described. A properly executed will, drawn by an attorney and indicating that your son and daughter are your heirs, should be sufficient.
Q.: I have a very close friend who has not filed income tax returns for several years. While she's had enough income for the past several years to file, she hasn't. She wants to do the right thing and become current on her tax liability; she just does not want to make things worse. – Friend in Nevada
A.: If your friend comes forward, it is unlikely that any punishment other than maybe some financial penalties would be assessed. I would suggest that she find a CPA who specializes in tax matters.