Do I Need a Living Trust?

Florida Estate Planning Attorneys Explain Revocable Living Trusts

It might seem that everywhere you turn today someone talks about having opened a revocable living trust. The trust option provides you with a simple way to both your assets and your family’s future. That’s because using a revocable living trust lets you avoid probate and directly transfer property to your loved ones. Bakalar & Associates, estate planning attorneys in Coral Springs FL, can help you do this.

What Is a Living Trust?

Any type of living trust places your assets and properties in a protected account (the trust). With a revocable living trust, you create the trust account while you live, and the trust manages the property for you. You can place multiple types of assets in a trust, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, jewelry, vehicles, etc. You still get to use these items while the trust manages them. For example, you can place your home in a trust and continue to live in it. The word revocable in the title means you can change the structure of the trust or dissolve it completely. You can also name yourself the trustee of your trust and continue to control your own assets. Coral Springs FL estate planning attorney Susan P. Bakalar can help you set up a living trust to access its many benefits.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Living Trust

By avoiding probate using a living trust, you maintain the family’s privacy and you skip probate by automatically distributing the items included in the trust. If you use a will, the will must go through probate. If you have no document at all, the estate must go through probate. This creates delays for your family gaining disbursement of the estate. Probate can take nine months to two years to complete, and it costs about five to 10 percent of the value of the total assets.

Another benefit of a living trust is its flexibility in trustees. You can name more than one or a successor trustee. For example, a wife who establishes a trust might name her spouse as the co-trustee or the successor trustee. If she fell ill or became incapacitated in an accident, her spouse could assume management of the trust fluidly.

A revocable living trust makes it harder for a person to contest the asset distribution. It has been in place during the deceased individuals’ life and has already managed the assets for some time.

The main downside of a revocable living trust is it costs more than a simple will and testament. The will can distribute items and provide for the care of family members but requires court involvement. That erodes the privacy of the family, warns Bakalar & Associates, estate planning attorneys in Florida.

Who Needs Living Trusts?

A living trust can help any individual who wants to protect their assets and provide for their family in the event that they become incapacitated or die. You do not need to be wealthy to use this estate planning tool. It helps simplify matters if you own property in more than one state or you have an extended family. It lets you distribute the items exactly as you wish.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Florida estate planning lawyers can help you understand the essentials of a trust and how to avoid certain mistakes in planning one. They can also help with items like retitling any property or accounts that you place in the trust as well as creating a pour-over will.

Contact Susan P. Bakalar, Coral Springs FL estate planning attorney, for an appointment to discuss establishing a revocable living trust to protect your assets and your family. Let Bakalar & Associates help you establish a trust to manage your assets and provide for their private disbursement upon your death.