Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Living Trusts
A living trust is a legal agreement that you make to keep your assets until you become incapacitated or pass away. When that time comes, your appointed trustee will handle your assets and disperse them to your chosen beneficiaries. There are numerous benefits to a living trust, including that you can still use your property while you’re alive. To learn more about how living wills work in Florida, contact an experienced West Palm Beach estate planning attorney.
Understandably, a lot of prospective clients at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., have questions about how living trusts work. To help you better prepare for your meeting, we have prepared answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
Why Should I Create a Living Trust?
One of the top reasons to create a living trust is that the assets you place in the trust do not need to go through the probate court. Probate can drag on for months and even years before the heirs receive anything. With a living trust, you can avoid that court process. Plus, there is more privacy with a trust when compared to a will. With probate, your information is entered into the court records so anyone can look up your estate and assets. Wills become public record whereas living trusts do not.
If I Create a Living Trust, I Don’t Need a Will?
No, you should still create a will. The reason is—a will is your backup device and will cover any property you don’t transfer to the trust. It’s more common than you think to leave assets out of the trust by accident. Or, perhaps you acquire something new and then pass away a few days later. There might not be time to transfer the property.
Failure to set up a will in addition to your trust means if there is something to pass through probate, it will be distributed according to the intestate laws in Florida. That means someone else who would not be your first choice could wind up with some of your assets.
Are There Different Types of Living Trusts?
Yes, there are two main types of living trusts—revocable and irrevocable. With a revocable trust, you can change it or revoke it any time while you are alive. It’s more flexible and you can be a trustee and beneficiary while you are alive.
The irrevocable trust is just as its name suggests. It cannot be altered or changed by you, nor can it be revoked after you die. The only way to change an irrevocable trust after it’s set up is to get consent of all the beneficiaries. It can seem scary to transfer your assets into a trust that you don’t have any power over, but it’s beneficial for those involved. With you no longer owning the assets, it can also lower your potential estate taxes and defend against creditors.
Contact a West Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney
If you are interested in setting up a living trust, let our West Palm Beach estate planning lawyers help. Contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., today to schedule an initial consultation.