Estate planning terms explained so a 6-year old can understand!

How To Explain Living Trusts To A Six-Year-Old

Let’s continue our little conversation with the explanation of what a trust is. This one is more complicated to fully understand, but the basics are almost identical to a will. If you missed our chat in Part 1 of this series, feel free to check it Wills Explained To A Six-Year-Old here.

So why do you need a trust over a will? Great question! A lot of people don’t. Let’s learn a little more:

Six-Year-Old: “Mommy, Daddy, what’s a trust?” (I’ve heard kids ask crazier questions, so roll with it)
Parent: “Well honey, a trust is a big stack of papers that lets Mommy and Daddy decide where all their stuff goes when they pass away.”

Wait a minute. Hold the phone. That’s exactly what a will does! What are you trying to pull here? I know, I know. It’s confusing. But the conversation isn’t over yet.

Six-Year-Old: “Ummmm … You just said that’s what a will does. I don’t get it.”
Parent: “You’re paying attention. Good job! A trust is a much bigger stack of papers than a will. It also starts protecting you and all these things around you immediately. Our will doesn’t start working until we are gone.”

So that’s the main difference. There are a lot more pages to a trust, and those pages have terms in them that allow the trust to take effect immediately. Whereas a will is more of a “back-burner document” in that we don’t ever look at it until you pass away. We will get into the intricacies of trusts in later posts. For instance, trusts also let you avoid probate. We haven’t even explained probate to our six-year-old yet, so hold on to that nugget. For now, just know this:


1. Let’s you say where you want your stuff to go when you die,
2. Start protecting your stuff and your family immediately, not later like a will, and
3. Avoid probate (unlike a will)

There you have it! If you have more questions or need some more things broken down to where a six-year-old could understand them, don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.