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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

What Are the Benefits of Setting Up a Living Trust for Estate Planning in Florida?

You have probably heard that you could use a living trust to avoid probate, but there are other advantages of this type of document that might make you want to incorporate a living trust in your estate plan. A living trust can even help you during your lifetime as well as after your death.

A Florida estate planning attorney can create your living trust and answer your questions, like, What are the benefits of setting up a living trust for estate planning in Florida?

Avoiding Probate Court in Florida with a Revocable Living Trust

If you have a will when you die, the person you name to serve as your executor will have to go to court, get the judge to approve the will, and get permission to handle the estate. The will becomes public record when it gets filed in court. The court will oversee the process at various stages.

Most living trusts do not have to go through probate court. Because they do not have to get filed with the court, living trusts provide more privacy than a will. It can be less expensive to administer a living trust than a will. Sometimes, your beneficiaries can get the assets you left for them sooner with a trust.

How a Living Trust Could Help You During Your Lifetime

If you were to have a severe accident or illness that left you unable to make decisions for yourself or express your wishes, your loved ones would have to go to court and get an order from a judge allowing them to handle your financial matters and daily care.

Families often battle over who will get chosen to fulfill these roles. Sometimes, one person handles your financial issues, and a different person makes your medical and personal care decisions. You might not have selected the same people that the court did. The only way to make a voice in who steps in when you cannot, is to have legal documents, like a living trust, in place ahead of time.

Controlling What Happens for Years After Your Death

A will gets administered and closed, usually within a year or two. If you want to spread out some things longer than that, you will need to get a living trust. For example, instead of giving assets as a lump sum to your college-aged child, you might want to have the trustee of your living trust give them the interest from an asset for the next 20 years and then the principal of the asset spread over the next five years.

You cannot keep a will pending at court this long, but a living trust can stay “open” for many years.

Special Situations That Could Benefit from a Living Trust

There are different kinds of trust that are tailored to specific situations. For example, if you have a child with special needs, you might want to set up a special needs trust that could provide some assets that improve the quality of life for your child after you are gone without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.

Other reasons to use a living trust include having a beneficiary who struggles with money management, mental illness, addiction, or other challenges.

You can talk to a Florida estate planning attorney about how a living trust could benefit your estate goals. Contact our office today for help with your case.

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The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A. assists clients in Florida, including North Pinellas County, Palm Harbor, Trinity, West Pasco County, and the surrounding areas.

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