2. What are the general advantages of revocable trusts?
Continuity of Management During Disability
Creating a Florida revocable trust is probably the best way to ensure that your property remains available to be used for your benefit, should you become physically or mentally incapable of managing your own affairs. While continuity of management is also possible when a Florida durable power of attorney is signed, third parties such as banks, brokers, and transfer agents often have more difficulty in dealing with a durable power of attorney than with a trust and do not always accept the authority of the agent.
If you become disabled and you have neither a revocable trust nor a durable power of attorney, (power of attorneys are controlled in Florida by the Florida Durable Power of Attorney Statute 709.08 an expensive, lengthy, and potentially embarrassing court proceeding is generally required to appoint a guardian before your property can be used to benefit either you or your family. Even after a guardian has been named, continued court supervision over the management of investments and disbursements is usually required. This can include annual bond fees, annual accounting, and additional legal, accounting, and other professional fees. It was also require a restricted depository account in which the court must approve of the transactions from.
Using a funded revocable trust may allow you to name unrelated, out-of-state individuals and out-of-state trust companies to act as the primary administrator of your property at death. Without a trust, Florida and other jurisdictions limit your flexibility in this regard. To serve as a non corporate Personal Representative in Florida a person must be a Florida resident or a close family member (as defined by Florida Statute) of the Florida decedent
Avoiding Florida Probate
Because Florida probate can be costly and time-consuming, the avoidance of probate in Florida is often cited as one of the primary benefits of a revocable trust. Depending on the assets that are funded in the Florida Trust may determine how great a benefit avoiding probate may be. If you own real estate in more than one state such as in Florida, California and Pennsylvania you can avoid multiple probate proceedings. If the decedent was a Florida domicile and owned property in Southern California, another piece of real estate in Philadelphia, and also owned real estate in Manhattan New York for example then putting the real estate in the trust can help avoid a California Ancillary Administration, avoid New York Ancillary Probate as well as helping to avoid Ancillary Probate Administration for the Pennsylvania property. The property can be distributed to the beneficiaries in a quicker manner and with far less administration costs.
Availability of Assets at Death
Assets in a revocable trust at the grantor?s death are available to raise cash to pay estate taxes, expenses of administration, and debts immediately after death without waiting for a probate order from a court or issuance of letters of administration. If the trust is funded prior to death, the property in the trust remains in the trustees name before and after death and is immediately available for liquidation should the need arise. If the trustee were the decedent then the property would just pass to the successor trustee.
No Interruption in Investment Management
One of the benefits of creating a revocable trust is the ability to provide uninterrupted investment management if the grantor should become disabled, as well as after the grantor?s death.
Assuming the assets were previously transferred into the trust?s name as they should be there is no need to re-register securities after death unless there will be an outright distribution to the beneficiaries. In addition, depending on the cash needs and investment objectives of the grantor?s estate, there may be no need to develop a new investment strategy.