Living Trusts Are They for Everyone?

Living Trusts can be important tools for avoiding probate and improving estate management. The quick and simple answer to the question of whether everyone should have a Living Trust is “no”. Whether you should have a Living Trust is a more difficult question.

In recent years, Living Trusts have been promoted in books and public seminars as the panacea that will cure all problems related to probate and to caring for your family after your death. Living Trusts can solve a lot of problems, delays, and costs of passing the estate to the next generation.

In Florida, estates of $75,000 (amount increased in 2002) or more require formal probate procedures. For estates over $1,500,000, tax planning provisions such as an A- B trust or credit shelter trust can be incorporated into a Living Trust or Will.

A Revocable Living Trust has many advantages and few or no disadvantages. The general benefit of the use of a Revocable Living Trust is to create a situation where the trust assets are available, and even under circumstances of disability and death, you retain control, and there is no probate court administration. Since the assets are considered owned by the trustee, and you can be your own trustee, and name your successor trustee, then the estate is not subject to probate court administration.

WHAT IS A LIVING TRUST?

A Living Trust is a revocable trust that is funded during your life with most of your assets, including investments, savings, and real estate. A trust is a form of ownership where the trustee owns and manages property for beneficiaries named in the trust document. A revocable trust can be amended or changed. In most cases, you will act as a trustee and retain management over your property. At your death, the property can continue to be held in trust or be distributed to your heirs as you direct.

If you would like to learn more about Living Trusts click on the "Seminar Dates" button here or at the top of the page for the date of the next Estate Planning Seminar. You may ask questions of a general nature at these free seminars. Since seating is limited to 10 persons reservations are required. If you seek legal advice specific to your particular circumstances and would like to become a client, call the office at 377-5660 to schedule a private appointment in our office with Attorney Laura Hillier. Click here or the "Directions" button above for directions specific to your geographic area.