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Florida Wills & Estates

WHAT IS A REVOCABLE TRUST OR A LIVING TRUST?

Do you know what a Revocable Trust can do for you in Florida?

A revocable trust and a living trust are one in the same.  It is a living trust because it is one that you create and use while you are alive and it is revocable in that you can end it or change it at any time.  It is the most flexible of all the will type instruments.  In essence a revocable trust is a written document that creates a form of ownership in which assets originally owned by you are legally re-titled in the name of a trustee (usually yourself), who manages the assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries (again-usually you and your family).

Creating a revocable living trust, or just a “living trust”, is the most effective means of avoiding probate and guardianship with respect to the trust’s assets. It is safer than using joint ownership to avoid probate because the trustee you name does not personally own the assets of the trust, as is the case with joint property. The trustee holds title to the assets for you as the beneficiary named in the trust.  Creditors of the trustee cannot reach the trust assets.

In almost all cases, the trust names the you as the initial trustee and initial beneficiary. This means that the you both manage the trust as trustee and you are entitled to the benefit of the assets as beneficiary for life.  The trust also lists the beneficiaries entitled to receive the assets when you die. This part of the trust is similar to a will’s provisions. The trust also names who will be the next trustee after die or become incapacitated.

The trust avoids probate as to the assets placed in it because upon the grantor’s death the assets of the trust are owned by the trust and not by you.  Assets which have not been transferred to the trust and which remain titled in your name  at death are subject to probate. Therefore, most assets should be placed in trust.

Revocable trusts are simple to set up and are relatively inexpensive.  There will be some minor expense and work to transfer your assets to the trust, but you will still control your property and there is no tax consequence to doing this.

If you find yourself in need of estate planning information it is best to consult an attorney with substantial estate planning experience. There are so many different circumstances that a proper answer to your particular problem can only be obtained by a trained and experienced lawyer.

If you have any question regarding trust, wills, living wills, probate, will contests, or probate litigation, our firm may be able to help you.  EMAIL US.

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