Florida Living Trust – What You Should Know About Them

Florida Living Trusts are often the cornerstone of a great estate plan and provide many of our top estate planning clients benefits.  Here are a few of the best or most important things that everyone should know about living trusts.  In many situations, an asset protection trust can be used in conjunction with a living trust.

1. A Florida Living Trust is Revocable

A Florida Living Trust is more formally known as a revocable trust.  The trust’s name is an indication of its flexibility.  The Florida living trust is revocable, which means that the person that created the trust can change the trust, or even cancel it, whenever he or she likes.  For example, if the creator of the Florida living trust wishes to add or remove a beneficiary from the trust he or she may do so at any time through an amendment or restatement.

Any changes to the trust will be effective during the settlor’s lifetime.  A person can transfer assets into the trust for his or her benefit during his or her lifetime.  The living trust can even permit a transfer of assets in the scenario that the trust creator becomes incapacitated.

2. Find a Great Trustee for your Florida Living Trust

A trustee is one of the most important cogs in a trust’s machinery, which is to say that a living trust needs a good trustee to work effectively.  A trustee is a person or legal entity that manages the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.  Living trusts are revocable and often created for the benefit of the settlor.  Therefore the settlor often prefers to serve as the trustee.

A living trust should also name a successor trustee to take control over the management of the trust after the settlor passes away or in the event he or she becomes incapacitated.  The living trust’s successor trustee can ensure the property in the trust us used for your benefit than then passes to the named beneficiaries of the trust after your death.

3. The Importance of the Pour Over Will and Your Florida Living Trust

A Florida Living trust is a great tool but it can be more effective when paired with a pour over will.  A pour over will is a will that moves any assets in a person’s estate into his or her trust if the assets were not transferred to the trust before death.  Without a pour over will, any assets that were not part of the trust will be transferred by co-ownership, beneficiary designations, contract terms, or a court-supervised probate.

Probate is a court administered process where a person’s estate is closed, and the remaining assets are transferred to certain family members.  Probate can last a long time, even years, depending on the size of the estate.  Further, without a will, a person’s estate passes to his heirs based on the law of intestate succession.  This means the decedent has no so in who may receive his or her assets.  A pour over will ensure that all a person’s assets are transferred into the trust and that these assets avoid the potentially long and costly probate process.

For more information on how to form an estate plan that will help your assets avoid probate and ensure that your family and friends are taken care of after your death, contact a Florida Living Trust Lawyer or a Jacksonville estate planning attorney from The Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC today.

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