Choosing a Living Trust Over a Will in Florida. Which is right for you?

Grandfather-grandaughter.jpgIt is a common mistake many people make to believe that only the rich and wealthy need to implement a Florida Revocable Trust as a component of their Florida Estate Planning. Often after taking into account your home, bank accounts, cars, brokerage accounts, jewelry, collectibles, and life insurance policy most individuals will see their estate is much larger than they believed. Without proper utilization of Florida Estate Planning tools such as a Florida Revocable Trust, this amount can be subject to high costs associated with the Florida Probate process and potentially federal estate taxes or death taxes. While there are no Federal or Florida estate taxes in 2010, the annual exclusion is expected to drop in 2011. Many believe we could see only a 1 million dollar exclusion in 2011.

There can be many advantages of using a Florida Revocable Trust for you estate planning needs rather than a Florida Will. First, privacy is an advantage offered by a living trust but not a will because after death wills are publicly recorded and copies may be viewed or purchased. A second advantage is that a Florida Will often requires the expense and delay of Florida Probate. With the attorney fees, executor fees, and tax consequences involved with probate, thousands of dollars could be saved with a living trust.

A third advantage is control and to some extent the protection from creditors with the money and assets given to beneficiaries. Often your beneficiaries creditors are not be able to satisfy their debts from your trust funds when the trust is properly setup and managed. However, if the money were given outright in a Florida Will, creditors are be free to collect their debts with those funds. Another advantage worth noting is efficiency with which assets are distributed. Probate proceedings usually take between 6 months and 24 months. Throughout these proceedings the assets are usually tied up and cannot be enjoyed by the beneficiary.

A Florida Revocable Trust can provides significant advantages for many people that cannot be obtained with only a simple will. To receive these benefits your goals should be shared with a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer to determine what options you have and how to implement them to meet your desires.

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