A Florida resident who is named as the executor of a decedent's will may be apprehensive about the responsibilities that accompany that position. The executor needs to make sure the desires of the deceased person are fulfilled and the remaining financial obligations of the person's estate are taken care of.
While people may have heard of a revocable living trust, they may not be exactly certain of what the term means or how such a trust functions. Trusts may generally be divided into two broad categories, including revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.
Some residents of Florida may be concerned about what will become of their assets after their death. Although this can be a difficult question for some families to consider, doing so responsibly can help to mitigate the chance of further complications for one's beneficiaries in the future. Probate is one such potential complication, and it can be an expensive process for one's intended beneficiaries to undergo. However, many people are unaware of how probate can come into effect and what assets may be subject to it.
During their estate planning considerations, many people in Florida consider setting up a living trust in order to avoid probate and to provide for either themselves or for others while the trust creator is still living. A living trust can lend flexibility. Many grantors name themselves as trustee and find little practical difference between managing the trust and managing its property directly.
When an estate enters probate, the court will appoint a personal representative to manage the assets. If the representative is an individual, that person must either be a Florida resident or a close relative of the decedent. A qualified and authorized bank or savings and loan company and any incorporated Florida trust company could also serve as the representative.
Among the primary reasons for probate in Florida is the satisfaction of the debts of the decedent. The personal representative of the estate is required to provide notice of probate to any reasonably ascertainable or known creditors. Upon notice, creditors typically are allowed a period of three months to file claims with the court clerk. The claims should set forth the details of the relevant debts.
When individuals are deciding who will inherit from their estates, it is important to consider a series of questions. The first question to answer is how much should go to heirs and how much should go to charity. Once that ratio has been determined, it may be worthwhile to talk to all beneficiaries to let them know how much they can expect to receive.
A bypass trust has long been a tool of choice for Florida couples who wish to defend their combined marital estate from encroachment by taxation. Recent legislative alterations regarding the marital deduction have made the bypass trust capable of sheltering even more than before.
Individuals in Florida who are working on trusts as part of their estate plans need to carefully consider the choice of trustee. This is an important decision because no matter how carefully a trust is designed, if the trustee or trustees do not administer it properly, the goals of the individual who formed the trust may not be achieved.
Florida individuals who have a high net worth may need additional financial arrangements in addition to the standard estate planning documents like wills and health care directives. Trusts can be a particularly valuable tool for these individuals to use.