Trusts offer distinct advantages for different types of estate plans. If a person wants to avoid probate, set up a credit shelter, prevent beneficiary’s overspending, or protect funds for the benefit of a loved one, a trust can help you to attain a multitude of goals.
In this article, you will understand what marital trust is in Florida.
Florida Marital Trust vs. Estate Planning – The Fundamentals
Estate planning is an essential aspect of everyone’s life. For married couples, estate planning is even more crucial – especially if there are children and elderly parents involved in the family situation.
A well-structured marital trust can help married couples in Florida to protect their assets and ensure the trustor’s spouse and beneficiaries will seamlessly access the assets held in trust if the trustor dies or becomes incapacitated.
Marital trusts have three elements – the trustor, the trustee, and the beneficiary.
The trustor is the person who set up the trust, transferring assets to the trustee (fiduciary). The trustee holds nominal ownership of the trust’s assets for the benefit of one or multiple persons designated as beneficiaries.
In a marital trust, one of the spouses creates a trust to designate the other spouse as the sole beneficiary. This type of trust permits them to separate the couple’s interest in their estate from the interest of other beneficiaries, such as children, grandchildren, children from other relationships, etc.
With a marital trust, the surviving spouse can avoid probate with an additional advantage. All the assets held in the trust are distributed to the beneficiary while avoiding federal estate taxes on the amount received by the surviving spouse.
Until the benefitted spouse’s death, the assets inherited through the trust are not subject to federal estate tax.
Similar to other estate planning tools, marital trusts require careful crafting and a full assessment of each couple’s situation to identify whether it provides a solution. Consult with an experienced attorney to identify if it is an adequate legal tool for your case.
Should I Set Up a Florida Marital Trust? – An Honest Overview
Currently, more and more families are blended families. If used in conjunction with a family trust, a marital trust allows the trustor to provide separate streams of support for a surviving spouse and children from different relationships.
Using a marital trust in conjunction with other tax-saving tools is also efficient in terms of estate planning.
Considering the couple’s residence counts against the federal gift tax exemption, one could design a trust to protect the family residence for a specific number of years and then transfer the residence to a loved one with federal taxes.
If used properly, a marital trust may allow Florida residents to provide for their spouses while giving their children beneficial tax treatment upon their death. Conversely, setting up a trust without a deep understanding of how it is properly structured is a bad idea.
Besides the tax implications, it may result in unexpected outcomes. The best approach is to work with an experienced Florida attorney to draft a trust tailored to your circumstances.