Living Trust Florida

How To Protect Your Family, Money, and Property with a Revocable Living Trust in Florida

What Is A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

A revocable living trust in Florida is one of the best ways to pass your money, property, and assets to your family after you pass away. Think of your revocable living trust in Florida as the cornerstone of your estate plan. Oftentimes a living trust is used as a substitute for the commonly known last will and testament because of the robust protection the living trust provides for its creator.

One of the most popular reasons people select a revocable living trust in Florida instead of a last will is because a living trust allows your family to avoid the long, stressful, and expensive probate court process after you pass away. A revocable living trust in Florida has numerous benefits beyond probate avoidance that we will talk about in detail in this article. With a living trust you can:

  • Pass your money, property, and assets efficiently to your family after you pass away
  • Avoid the long, stressful, and expensive Florida probate court process
  • Protect and manage your assets if you become incapacitated without having to go to Florida guardianship court
  • Keep control of your finances after you die
  • Ensure the contents of your trust and the transfer of your assets remain private
  • Name someone you trust to distribute your assets according to your wishes after you pass away
  • Change or revoke the estate planning document at any point while you are still alive
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What This Article Will Cover

If you are considering creating a revocable living trust in Florida, this article is for you. In this piece, you will learn the answers to questions like:

  • Who needs a revocable living trust in Florida?
  • How does a revocable living trust work?
  • Will I still be able to manage my assets in a living trust?
  • What is the difference between a will and a revocable living trust in Florida?
  • What are the advantages of a living trust?
  • What happens when you die with a revocable living trust in Florida?
  • What is the difference between an irrevocable vs revocable living trust?
  • How do you set up a revocable living trust in Florida?
  • What happens when you die with a living trust?

What This Article Will Not Cover

There are a variety of different types of trusts beyond a revocable living trust: irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, asset protection trusts, and medicaid trusts, just to name a few. While we will compare a revocable living trust in Florida to some of these documents, we will not dive deep into each of these trusts and how they work. The main focus of this guide will be on the revocable living trust in Florida.

Who Needs A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

A living trust in Florida is one of the most popular estate planning documents people create because of the combination of flexibility and protection it provides. If any of the following apply to you, you should consider a living trust:

  • Have money in bank accounts, investment portfolios, or retirement plans
  • Own real estate
  • Have children or grandchildren
  • Married, but haven’t created an estate plan or modified a pre-existing estate plan since your wedding
  • Divorced, but haven’t created an estate plan or modified a pre-existing estate plan since your divorce
  • Own a business
  • Have precious family heirlooms

How Does A Revocable Living Trust In Florida Work?

When you make a revocable living trust in Florida, you are what is called the grantor of the trust. As the grantor, you will name yourself as the trustee. When you create the trust, you will transfer all of your assets into the name of your trust. This is known as funding the trust and it is the essential step that allows your assets to pass seamlessly to your family after you die without having to go through Florida probate court.

You will also name your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the people you are creating your Florida revocable living trust to benefit. Typically, this is your spouse, children, grandchildren etc. Simply put, your beneficiaries are the people you want to inherit your money and property after you pass away. Additionally, you can specify how much each beneficiary should receive and when they should receive it.

One of the most important parties you will name in your Florida revocable living trust is your successor trustee. This is the person who will take over the management of all of the assets you put into your trust if you become incapacitated or die. They will also be the person who settles your estate and distributes your assets to your loved ones after you pass away. The successor trustee is a very important role. You should pick someone who is competent and trustworthy. Oftentimes people select a close relative or friend. If you prefer, you can also choose a corporate trustee who is a professional at administering trusts.

After you pass away, your successor trustee will privately distribute your assets to the people you named as your beneficiaries without having to go through probate. This can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for your heirs to receive your assets. Additionally, it can eliminate the court fees and attorney fees associated with probate court.

Will I Still Be Able To Manage My Assets With A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

Since you are the grantor and the trustee of the trust, you have the ability to access all of the assets that you placed in the trust just like you do now. You can spend, invest, sell real estate – anything you can do now, you can do after you create your Florida revocable living trust. If for any reason you don’t like the way your trust is set up, you can always change or revoke it. As you can see, a living trust in Florida is very flexible when it comes to managing your assets while still allowing you to protect those assets from Florida probate court.

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What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

One of the most common questions people ask when planning their estate is “which is better, a will or a trust?”. While these documents have their similarities, they also have significant differences. In this section, we will look at the similarities and differences between a last will and testament and a living trust in Florida to help you gain a better understanding of which may be right for you.

What Is A Last Will And Testament In Florida?

A last will and testament in Florida is one of the simplest estate planning documents that allows you to pass your assets to your loved ones after you die. Specifically, a last will and testament allows you to:

  • Name the people who should receive your assets after you die
  • Designate a legal guardian for any children under the age of 18
  • Appoint someone you trust to act as your personal representative/executor to settle your estate in probate and distribute your assets to your loved ones after you die

Does A Last Will And Testament Go Through Probate In Florida?

Yes. After you die, your will is required to go through probate before your assets can be distributed to your family. This is one of the major differences between a last will and testament and a revocable living trust in Florida.

Probating your will is the job of your personal representative that you selected when drafting your will. Additionally, your personal representative will be responsible for settling your debts and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

In general, the transfer of assets takes much longer with a last will and testament than it does with a living trust because the living trust doesn’t need to go through Florida probate. Probate avoidance is one of the major reasons why people choose a living trust instead of a last will and testament.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Florida?

If you die without a will in Florida, your estate will be subject to the state of Florida’s intestacy laws. As a result, your assets will be distributed according to Florida law with little to no input from you. This situation could be less than ideal, especially if there are people in your family that you don’t want to pass your assets to. At a minimum, it’s a good idea to have a last will and testament in place. But if avoiding probate is important to you, you should consider a living trust in Florida instead. A living trust has numerous advantages over a last will and testament. In this section, we will address the benefits of a revocable living trust in Florida.

What Are The Benefits Of A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

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A revocable living trust in Florida has 5 major benefits that can help you achieve your estate planning goals. The benefits include: 1) maintain control of your finances after you pass away; 2) avoid probate court and maintain your privacy ; 3) preserve your wealth and legacy for future generations 4) ensure your children are protected after you pass away; 5) plan for incapacity. In this section, we will talk about each of these benefits in depth.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Helps You Maintain Control of Your Finances

A revocable living trust in Florida helps you maintain control of your finances after you pass away so that you can have peace of mind that your family is financially stable and protected. When you draft your revocable living trust, you will appoint someone responsible to act as your successor trustee.

Your successor trustee will manage your money, property, and assets and distribute them to your loved ones according to your wishes. This allows you to ensure that your family receives your money as fast as possible so that they have the ability to survive and pay for critical expenses like mortgage payments, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and outstanding debts after you die.

Additionally, you can specify exactly who you want to receive your assets and how much they should receive. This allows you to make sure your money stays in the hands of the ones you love while excluding the people you would never want having access to your assets.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Helps You Avoid Probate Court And Maintain Privacy

A revocable living trust in Florida helps you pass your assets to your loved ones in the most efficient way possible. That’s because a living trust avoids the long, stressful, and expensive probate court process. Probate can delay your family from receiving your assets for months, even years and can be difficult to endure during a time of mourning.

Probate avoidance is one of the major reasons why people choose a living trust in Florida over a last will and testament. That’s because a last will and testament is required to go through probate before your assets can be distributed to your loved ones. Since probate is public, the contents of a last will and testament also become public. This can increase the likelihood that your will is contested in court, which can further delay your family from receiving your assets.

Since a living trust avoids probate court, the transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries is private and only the people named in the trust have the right to know what assets it contains. Additionally, the transfer of assets is much more efficient and can happen in a matter of days or weeks instead of months, or potentially years.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Helps You Plan For Incapacity

A revocable living trust in Florida helps you protect your family and assets by appointing a person you trust to manage your assets if you become incapacitated and can’t communicate. When people think of estate planning, oftentimes they only think of planning for their death. But comprehensive estate planning should also address planning for incapacity. That’s because it is very common for someone to become incapacitated and unable to communicate at some point prior to death.

Without a living trust in place, your family will need a guardianship to access your assets if you become incapacitated. However, with a revocable living trust in Florida, your successor trustee will step in to manage your assets on your behalf. Usually when planning for incapacity, it is best to supplement your living trust with a financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and living will to ensure that all of your financial and medical decisions will be taken care of in case you are no longer able to communicate.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Helps You Avoid Estate Taxes

A revocable living trust in Florida helps you protect your family’s wealth and legacy for future generations. Depending on the size of your family’s estate, a living trust can help you avoid estate taxes. Additionally, you can ensure that priceless family heirlooms are kept with your loved ones to preserve your family’s legacy.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Helps You Protect Your Children After You Pass Away

A revocable living trust in Florida helps you make sure your children are taken care of emotionally and financially after you pass away. Because you are able to maintain control of your finances with a living trust, you can make sure that your kids reach a mature enough age or achieve a significant milestone like graduating from college before they receive an inheritance. Additionally, you can protect your children and your money in case they have future problems with spouses, creditors, drugs, alcohol, gambling, or handling money.

In general, a living trust is a much more robust estate planning document that provides you, your family, and your assets more protection than a last will and testament.

What Happens When You Die With A Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

If you pass away with a living trust in Florida, it will be up to your successor trustee to settle your estate and distribute your assets to your loved ones according to your wishes. Here is a brief list of what your successor trustee will need to do in order to settle your estate:

  • Contact the grantor’s family to notify them of their role as successor trustee
  • Identify and help execute any funeral instructions
  • Review the trust and inventory the assets
  • Notify institutions of the grantor’s death
  • Assemble a team of professionals to help settle the estate
  • Pay any outstanding bills and taxes
  • Distribute assets to the beneficiaries of the trust
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If you would like to learn more about what your successor trustee needs to do in order to administer your trust after you pass away, please reference this article we wrote called The Responsibilities of a Trustee which covers the topic much deeper.

What Is The Difference Between An Irrevocable Trust vs Revocable Living Trust In Florida?

A living trust in Florida is revocable. This means that it can be changed or “revoked” at any time by you, the grantor of the trust. If you want to add a beneficiary, you can do so. If you would like to add a piece of real estate to the trust, you can do this as well. This is what we mean when we say living trusts are “flexible”. People tend to like this flexibility because they can’t predict the future. They like having the peace of mind that they can change their trust if their situation changes in the future.

Unlike a living trust, an irrevocable trust can’t be changed after it is created. An irrevocable trust is much more permanent and you typically lose control of the assets. As a result, you should consult with a trust attorney to ensure the irrevocable trust is structured properly. Irrevocable trusts are very complex and they are only used in very specific situations, usually to preserve benefits or avoid creditors and taxes.

For example, a special needs trust is a type of irrevocable trust that is created to financially supplement the lifestyle of a special needs loved one while preserving their much needed government assistance benefits.

Asset protection trusts are another type of irrevocable trust. They are usually created by wealthy individuals who may be potential targets of lawsuits. The way this type of irrevocable trust is structured allows the creator to protect their assets from creditors and potential lawsuits.

How To Set Up A Revocable Living Trust In Florida

Define Your Goals

Defining your goals is the first and most important step to take when planning your estate. That’s because there are different estate planning documents to achieve different goals. For example, if probate avoidance is one of your top priorities, you will want to speak with an attorney about drafting a living trust instead of a will. If avoiding probate isn’t important, a will may satisfy your needs. If planning for incapacity is a priority, you may want to speak with an attorney about considering a living trust, powers of attorney, and a living will.

When it comes to estate planning, there is no “one-size-fits-all” document. As a result, you should create a list of your estate planning goals and schedule an initial consultation to discuss them with an experienced trust attorney. The attorney will be able to understand your goals and advise you on which documents may be right for your unique situation.

Inventory Your Assets

After you have established your estate planning goals, you will want to make a list of all the assets you wish to protect and pass on to your loved ones. To protect your assets from probate court, you will need to place them in the name of your trust. As we mentioned earlier, this is called “funding the trust”. Having your asset portfolio inventoried and readily available will help your trust attorney give you the best possible advice with respect to what should be added to the trust.

Gather The Paperwork For Your Assets

In order to fund your trust, you will need to collect all of the ownership paperwork for your assets. During the funding process, you will re-title the assets into the name of your trust. You need to make sure that the assets are properly placed into the trust, or else they will not be protected from probate. Your trust attorney will be able to help you with the process to make sure the trust functions as it was intended.

Pick Your Beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are extremely important to the trust because the trust is being drafted to benefit them. Usually beneficiaries are the spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. It’s really important to have a clear idea of who you want to be your beneficiaries and what assets you want them to receive prior to drafting your living trust.

Select Your Successor Trustee

Your successor trustee is the person who will be responsible for distributing your assets to your beneficiaries according to your wishes after you pass away. Additionally, they will be tasked with managing the assets in the trust in the even that you become incapacitated prior to your death.

Being a successor trustee is a difficult job that requires a lot of work and attention to detail. As a result, you should pick someone responsible that you trust to handle these significant responsibilities. You should also check with them prior to drafting your revocable living trust in Florida to make sure they are up to the task.

Schedule A Consultation With A Trust Attorney

Once you have made a list of your assets, collected the ownership paperwork, picked your beneficiaries, and selected your successor trustee, you will want to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced trust attorney. A Florida revocable living trust is one of the most important documents you will draft because it is securing your lifetime accumulation of assets. Will and trust law in Florida is very complex and you need to make sure the document is drafted correctly and is legally binding. The best way to ensure that the trust is completed properly and will act according to plan is to use the expertise of an experienced trust attorney who focuses their practice on will, trust, and estate law.

Revocable Living Trust In Florida Summary

A revocable living trust in Florida is a popular estate planning document because it provides a significant amount of protection and flexibility to its creator and their beneficiaries. A revocable living trust in Florida can help you achieve the following:

  • Pass your money, property, and assets efficiently to your family after you pass away
  • Avoid the long, stressful, and expensive Florida probate court process
  • Protect and manage your assets if you become incapacitated without having to go to Florida guardianship court
  • Keep control of your finances after you die
  • Ensure the contents of your trust and the transfer of your assets remain private
  • Name someone you trust to distribute your assets according to your wishes after you pass away

A revocable living trust in Florida is one of the most important documents you will create because it is responsible for protecting your lifetime accumulation of assets and ensuring that they get passed to your loved ones according to your wishes. As a result, you should work with an experienced trust attorney to make sure it is drafted properly and is legally binding. If you are interested in drafting a living trust and would like to speak with a living trust attorney, please call us today at Rochester Law Center at 248-613-0007. Over the past decade, we’ve helped 1,000s of families estate plan.

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