Advantages of a Florida Trust Over a Will
Many people opt to use a trust over a will as the central part of their estate planning. Both trusts and wills have their own purpose and can serve an important role in your Florida estate plan. If you are trying to decide whether a trust or a will is best for your individual estate, it’s best to speak with a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney.
In the meantime, here’s a look at some possible advantages of a trust over a will.
You Can Avoid Probate with a Trust
Utilizing a trust in your estate can help you avoid probate. When you have a will, it must be settled through a probate administration with the court to validate the will and oversee the process of paying all the debts. Once any outstanding debts and taxes have been satisfied, the court will supervise the process of distributing assets to the specified heirs. With a trust, the legal ownership transfers from the grantor to the trust itself.
A Trust Offers More Privacy
One significant advantage of a trust is the level of privacy it offers over a will. All wills must go through probate, which is a matter of public record. That means that anyone could come in and request a copy of the probate record that details your will and the estate you left behind. A trust offers more privacy as it does not go before a court and become part of the permanent court record.
Trusts Can Be More Flexible
If you choose a revocable trust, you will have more flexibility than with a will. This flexibility is especially important when you have assets and beneficiaries outside of Florida. There could be a need to set up a probate case in other states to oversee the distribution of those other assets with a will. That can be a costly and certainly time-consuming process.
Trusts Offer You More Control
Another advantage with a trust is the ability to have more control over your estate and what happens when you pass away. When you designate heirs in your will, you are basically giving them a gift. However, with a trust, you can set conditions and decide how the assets should be used. For example, you may set instructions that distributions are to be made at certain milestones, or on certain birthdays. With a will, the property transfers to the beneficiary, and the probate administration is subsequently closed. However, you can also set up a trust inside of a will, if your estate plan calls for it.
A Revocable Trust Offers More Accessibility
Depending on the type of trust you set up, you may still have access to your assets during your lifetime. With a revocable trust, you can still retain assets while you are alive, and you can designate that the trust funds be available to you in the event you become disabled and need to have care.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
If you are ready to set up your estate plan or you need to modify your existing one, don’t attempt to handle it on your own. Let an experienced West Palm Beach estate planning attorney assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.