Best Trust Lawyers in Florida: Let Us Protect Your Estate Now
A living trusts will allow your family to avoid the probate process when you pass away, and while you are still alive, it will allow you to avoid guardianship and bring you more power on the way that your estate is distributed amongst your beneficiaries. Therefore, it is one of the most useful estate planning documents you can get today.
With our help, you will obtain a Living Trust that will bring you more power over your estate while you are still alive, and also protect your family and loved ones when you pass away. This is what we have done for hundreds of clients since 2010, and we are ready to do the same for you.
Why Should You Obtain a Florida Living Trust Today?
We have already highlighted some of the advantages at the beginning, but there are even more benefits you can get. Let us show you why you should call us today to start writing your Living Trust.
Undoubtedly, the primary reason for setting up a living trust is avoiding probate upon death. Under a trust, you (the trustor/grantor) will transfer the title of property to a trustee, which will maintain nominal ownership of the transferred assets for the benefit of one or multiple beneficiaries.
As the assets held in the trust are not titled in the trustor’s sole name, these assets are not subject to probate. Hence, upon the trustor’s death, the property held in the trust will be distributed directly to the beneficiaries listed in the trust agreement – entirely waiving the need for probate.
Legally, the living trust is considered a separate legal person. As the assets titled to the trust will no longer be under your name, your designated beneficiaries will receive them smoothly and rapidly.
Keeping the Court Out of Personal Finances In Case of Incapacitation
While Florida law provides a court will name a person to serve as your guardian in case of physical or mental incapacitation, a trust permits you to designate a guardian outside of the court – without the need for a long and stressful process to obtain court-supervised guardianship.
In this regard, it is crucial to distinguish the two types of guardians – guardians of the person and guardians of the property. While the guardian of the person is legally authorized to handle medical affairs on your behalf, the guardian of the property is legally authorized to handle your finances and property.
In Florida, as long as most of your assets are titled to a living trust, no guardianship of the property will be needed if you become incapacitated and no longer able to handle your own decisions.
In such a case, the successor trustee designated in the trust agreement will be in charge of administering the assets held in trust – all according to the provisions outlined in the trust agreement.
More Control Over Personal Assets Upon Death
It is hard to think about having more control over your assets upon death. Nonetheless, it is precisely the purpose of a living trust – grant you further control over your property and ensure your wishes will be carried out in the distribution to their rightful beneficiaries.
In a living trust, the trustor (person who set up the trust) maintains control of the assets held in the trust up until his/her death. Hence, it is possible to name oneself as the trust’s trustee and still manage the trust after giving up ownership of the assets held in the arrangement.
Nonetheless, after the trustor’s death, the living trust automatically becomes irrevocable. Thus, no changes can be made to the legal arrangement – unless with a judgment from a court.
As the living trust agreement will name a successor trustee, the person appointed will immediately distribute the assets held in trust upon the trustor’s death according to the provisions within the trust document.
Ultimately, a living trust provides a valuable way to ensure your wishes are carried out as specified by a legal document.
Safeguarding Inheritance for Minor Children
If a Florida resident dies and leaves minor children more than $15,000 in inherited property, state law requires the appointment of a guardian for the property to administer the funds for the child’s best interest (regardless if there is still a biological parent alive).
Hence, up until the children reach the age of majority, the guardian must file annual accounting and request court permission for specified expenses using any of the inherited funds.
Additionally, the guardianship process legally requires legal assistance, as all guardians in Florida must be represented by a licensed attorney.
Transferring title to a living trust and designating your minor children as beneficiaries will permit you to avoid this inconvenient process. To uphold his/her fiduciary duty, the trustee must administer the assets held in trust for the benefit of the minor heirs, until they have legal conditions to receive the assets.
Still, regardless of your needs and goals, make sure to contact us to have your case assessed in depth. Much more than just writing a trust agreement for you, we want to help you find the best solution for your case.
Since 2010, we have been giving our clients more power over the decisions on their estate and personal life, protecting their loved ones and guaranteeing their legacy is carried out upon death as they wish.
Is a Florida Living Trust Right For You?
Determining whether a living trust provides a solution for your situation will depend on several factors. If your main purpose is to avoid probate court and ensure your beneficiaries will inherit your estate immediately upon your death, then a living trust is a valuable tool for your case.
Another factor to assess when setting up a living trust is distinguishing probate assets from non-probate assets. In Florida, not all assets must go through probate upon death, which includes:
- Real property owned in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety
- Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401k(s), etc.)
- Bank/brokerage accounts under joint tenancy
- Bank/brokerage accounts with payable-on-death (POD) and transfer-on-death beneficiaries (TOD)
- Life insurance or brokerage-related accounts with beneficiaries that are not the decedent
For instance, a bank account with a designated beneficiary will not pass through probate. Thus, upon the account owner’s death, the beneficiary will receive the funds held in the account without further legal or administrative issues.
Another thing to consider is whether you want your beneficiaries to receive the assets immediately upon your passing, especially cases involving minor beneficiaries or someone who does not know how to manage their finances.
In such cases, a living trust provides an important estate planning tool by which you can designate a capable trustee to manage the assets held in trust while the beneficiary will receive only a share of the funds.
A common mistake is trying to figure out whether a living trust is a good option without legal guidance. There are countless legal and financial variables to consider, which cannot be done without an experienced attorney.
If you want to have your case individually assessed and find out if a living trust fulfills your needs best, consult with us immediately. If the answer is negative, we will surely work with you to find alternative estate planning tools (including other types of trusts) to protect your legacy upon death.
Florida Homestead Protection vs. Living Trusts
Florida’s homestead law protects the primary residence of qualified state residents from several tax liabilities, such as levy and execution by judgment creditors. Although a living trust is a valuable estate planning tool to protect real property, this is not the case with homestead property.
Essentially, homestead protection imposes several restrictions that require a more sophisticated strategy to ensure a smooth inheritance.
For example, if you transfer a homestead property to a living trust but you pass away before your minor children reach the age of majority, the decision will be invalid. In such a case, the property will be inherited under the Florida Homestead Statute – not according to the trust agreement.
Plus, if you are married and want to transfer the title of homestead property to a living trust, your spouse must consent to the decision and sign a spousal waiver authorizing the transfer. Ideally, homestead property requires an expert approach. Thus, immediately consult with us to find a feasible solution for your case.
Contact Us Today to Obtain the Benefits of a Florida Living Trust
As you can see, a Living Trust will bring you more power and peace of mind while you are still alive, and also protect your family when you pass away. Let us bring you these benefits, contact us today at (305) 921-0976 or [email protected] to obtain a private consultation with an experienced living trust attorney in Florida.