With over a decade of experience in estate planning, Florida wills and trusts attorney Randy A. Bryant has helped hundreds of Florida residents craft the legal documents they need to manage their assets and guide any future probate process. One such instrument, the living trust, is an important option available to those who would like to avoid placing certain assets or resources into probate.Florida Living Trusts
The living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is created in order to better allow a person to manage assets during their lifetime and to instruct the distribution of assets after death. A “grantor” is the individual who sets up the trust, and the “trustee” is the individual who manages the trust. Typically, in setting up the trust, the grantor will establish instructions for how the trust may be utilized during his or her lifetime, as well as instruct the trustee on how the trust should be distributed once the grantor has passed away. Typically, the grantor has full access to the trust while alive and may withdraw from it as needed. If the grantor becomes incapacitated, the trustee may step in to make decisions on the grantor’s behalf. This may allow the grantor to avoid the appointment of a guardian.Avoiding Probate
Because a living trust places the assets of the grantor into the management of a trustee, the assets in a living trust do not need to go through the probate process. Instead, upon the death of a grantor, the trustee will be in charge of handling the assets in the living trust, including paying any outstanding debts or taxes and then distributing the assets as instructed.
It is important to know that assets must be transferred to a living trust in a very specific way in order for a living trust to be effective and to avoid the probate process. All relevant assets, including any bank accounts, real estate, investments, or otherwise, must be formally and officially transferred to the living trust before the grantor’s death. This is called “funding” the trust. Funding a trust can be complicated because it can have an important effect on probate, inheritance, and taxes. If you are creating a living trust or are in the process of “funding” one, it is very important to consult with an estate planning attorney regarding your living trust options.Advising You on Living Trusts
Miami estate planning attorney Randy A. Bryant has helped guide many clients through the often-complicated process of determining which estate options are best for them. He understands the potential legal and financial consequences of trusts, wills, and other estate planning methods, and can help you decide what best fits your needs. Living trusts are an excellent option for many Florida residents in order to help them avoid the laborious probate process, but they are not for everyone. It is important to make your decision carefully in order to protect your own interests and the future interests of your family members and beneficiaries. The Bryant Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you do so. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your estate planning issues, call our Coconut Grove office at 305.456.2777. You can also contact us online.