Our firm frequently advises on clients on matters of Estate Planning. One of the most important questions is whether a client needs a Simple Will, a Will with a Support Trust, or a Revocable Living Trust.
While most people think about wills or trusts when planning their estates, it is important for them to also plan for the possibility that they may suffer an illness or injury that will leave them unable to make decisions while they are still living. There are several different ways people can plan for incapacity so that someone else can take care of certain matters on their behalf.
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.
As Florida residents may be aware, blending two families may come with its own financial considerations in order to provide not only for the new spouse in the future, but also to protect the children of both. Unfortunately, making new arrangements for this protection may be overlooked and have consequences should something happen to one spouse unexpectedly.
While a will may serve the estate planning needs for most people, it may not be sufficient for everyone. Some individuals want or need more control over the distribution of their assets than a will can provide. In those situations, a trust can be a helpful tool. Some people may think that trusts only exist for the wealthy. However, a trust can be useful regardless of wealth. Anyone who wishes to specifically guide or control their assets may benefit from having a trust.
There are many different types of trusts that a person may establish. The trusts may be divided into two broad categories. Revocable trusts allow people who set them up to control the trust assets. These trusts can be amended or terminated at any time. Irrevocable trusts instead own the assets and are able to avoid estate taxes. Changes cannot be made to irrevocable trusts without the intended beneficiaries' consent to the proposed changes.
Trusts have long been an important part of many Florida estate plans. The trust instrument has evolved to include specialized forms for all sorts of specialized situations, but the living trust continues to be among the most popular and useful of estate planning devices. A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, revocable living trust or inter vivos trust, is created during the life of the grantor. The trust may be created for any number of reasons, but two of the most common are asset management and avoidance of probate on death.
Many Florida residents find it difficult to contemplate end of life decisions, but addressing these issues can provide you with peace of mind while protecting your estate and safeguarding your legacy. Failing to have an effective estate plan in place could leave your assets vulnerable and increase your tax exposure, and it may also lead to conflict among your heirs.
While the issue of an estate plan may seem like a decision for a later time in one's life, Florida residents of all ages may benefit from considering the importance of having a will or living trust in place. One of the primary interests in forming a living trust is the ability to limit or eliminate the potential for a probate process. During probate, a will becomes a matter of public information, an issue that could allow sensitive information about one's last wishes to be aired in public. With a living trust, however, these matters can be handled privately.
A trust can be an effective way to avoid probate and transfer assets seamlessly to heirs, reduce estate taxes and give a family privacy. However, there are some things Florida residents need to take into consideration before they set up a revocable or irrevocable trust.