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Florida Estate Planning: Revocable Trusts

In establishing an estate plan to manage your assets, a trust is often a valuable tool. A revocable or living trust can play an important part in ensuring your loved ones are provided for, as well as helping to avoid the potentially lengthy and cumbersome probate process. While you’ll want to consult with an experienced Florida estate planning lawyer in determining if a trust might be right for you and for help setting up your trust, it can be helpful to know a few basics regarding exactly what a revocable trust is and how it can be of benefit to you.

Advantages of Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable trust is known as a living trust in that, unlike a will, it allows you to transfer your assets to loved ones prior to your death, while still retaining complete control over those assets. Governed by Florida State Statutes, a revocable trust is just that, meaning it can be changed and money or assets in the trust can be spent, invested or transferred the same as before those assets were placed into the trust.

A major advantage to a revocable trust is that it can also protect you in the event you become incapacitated by allowing you to have your assets managed by whomever you want, avoiding the costly and public process of having to have a guardian appointed. Unlike a will, a trust is a private document that does not need to be publically recorded. In establishing a trust, you avoid the lengthy and costly process of probate.

Establishing A Revocable Trust

The person who establishes the revocable trust is called the grantor. As the grantor of the trust, you will name a trustee to manage the trust. You can designate yourself as the trustee, or name a loved one or family member, or even your bank or a trust company to manage the trust. Additionally, you can name beneficiaries of your trust, the people or organizations your assets will pass to upon your death. Remember, the trust is revocable, meaning it can be changed, so as long as you are not incapacitated, you retain the ability to change your trustee should your situation change.

The Florida Bar Association offers a consumer pamphlet outlining some of the responsibilities of a trustee. These responsibilities include:

  • Investing trust assets;
  • Making tax decisions regarding the trust;
  • Keeping records of trust transactions; and
  • Issuing statement of accounts to beneficiaries.

You can name almost anyone to be a trustee, and your trustee does not have to reside in Florida. When appointing a trustee, it is important to realize the burden this position can place on someone inexperienced in such matters, as well as taking into consideration desired qualifications that would make managing your trust easier and more efficient. If you name a family member or friend who you feel may not be completely qualified, you can designate in the trust that your trustee be allowed to hire qualified professionals to help oversee the trust.

Funding your trust isn’t as easy as simply transferring your assets. Correctly funding your trust is of the utmost importance, and you will want to consult a qualified estate planning lawyer to guide this process.

Contact Our Experienced Florida Trust Lawyer

For help with establishing a trust, contact the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III. Serving all of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our experienced Florida estate planning lawyer will help you establish a trust to protect your assets while providing for you and your loved one’s needs. Contact us today to discuss how a revocable trust may benefit you.

The Law Office of William E. Raikes III is located in Fort Pierce, FL and serves clients in and around the communities of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie and Vero Beach.

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