Although probate is not necessarily a negative factor, this court-supervised administration is usually a time-consuming and expensive process. In fact, there are other alternative solutions to transfer one’s assets upon death more efficiently and quicker.
During probate, only assets titled solely in the deceased person’s name will be subject to probate administration. Instead, any assets held in a trust will not be subject to probate and will be inherited directly by the named beneficiaries.
In this article, you will find out how a trust may avoid probate in Florida.
Revocable Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts – Understanding the Concept
In essence, a trust is a legal arrangement by which a grantor (the owner of the assets) transfers the title of property to a trustee (person responsible for the management of the trust) to benefit a designated third party (beneficiary).
Different types of trust have distinct characteristics. For example, if you create a revocable trust, it is possible to name yourself as the trust’s trustee and retain control of the assets held in trust during your lifetime.
Still, upon the grantor’s death, the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust agreement. The trust agreement is the document that outlines all the fundamentals pursuant to the legal arrangement.
As its name suggests, a revocable trust may be amended, modified, or even revoked if the grantor decides to do so. When selecting a trustee, the grantor may appoint him/herself, a trusted third party (e.g., spouse), a bank, or a trust company to serve as a trustee.
While the grantor is still alive, the trustee invests and manages the property held in the trust. One of the advantages of trusts is that if the grantor becomes incapacitated, the trustee has the authority to continue to manage the trust assets, invest on the grantor’s behalf, and pay his/her bills.
Depending on the case, an irrevocable trust may offer a reasonable solution. As its name suggests, an irrevocable trust is a legal arrangement wherein the grantor (trust maker) cannot take property back once it was transferred to the trust.
Although irrevocable trusts are valuable estate planning tools to reduce taxable estate for wealthy individuals or simply avoid probate upon death, the terms used in this type of agreement may be overwhelmingly strict to suit most cases. Hence, it is used only in specific situations.
Does a Trust Avoid Probate in Florida? – The Verdict
Undoubtedly, a trust may avoid probate in Florida, as the assets held within the trust are not considered the grantor’s property any longer.
As only assets titled solely in the decedent’s name at the time of death are subject to probate, transferring the title of property to a trust permits one’s loved ones to inherit property while legally circumventing probate.
Under this legal arrangement, the trustee is the immediate authority over the assets held in trust.
Hence, as the trustee has a fiduciary duty to the trust maker and the trust’s beneficiaries, the distribution of the assets will be made according to the provisions in the trust agreement – waiving the need for probate altogether.
Do You Want Feasible Legal Strategies to Avoid Probate? – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Only assets titled solely in the decedent’s name at the time of death will be subject to probate in Florida. Accordingly, there are several legal tools available to automatically transfer property upon death while avoiding probate.