Trusts and estate planning

Florida residents who are thinking about estate planning may assume that all that they need is a will. A will enables people to name who will take care of their children if they are not able to and who will manage their children's assets, and it is also often used to determine who will receive someone's property when they pass on. While a will is an important part of estate planning, trusts can also be beneficial.

Trusts can help people avoid probate or a conservatorship, and it can also enable individuals to leave their assets to young children and name beneficiaries to property. One of the most commonly used trusts is a living trust. Living trusts are considered to be revocable because they can be changed while someone is still alive.

When a living trust is drawn up, it will name the assets that are being managed by the trust, the trustee and the beneficiary who will receive the assets when the person who has created the trust dies. If the assets listed in the trust are titled, they will need to be retitled to the name on the trust. The trustee is usually the person who created the trust, and he or she is the individual who is in charge of the property listed in the trust. When the person who created the trust passes on, a successor trustee takes over managing the trust and its assets.

Living trusts may sometimes be complicated. A probate lawyer could ensure that a trust is drafted correctly to avoid future legal issues and may be able to help people understand how this type of estate planning document works.

Source: Fox Business, "The Power of Trusts", Dennis Holmstrom, July 09, 2013

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