Boca Raton Living Trust Lawyer
Our Boca Raton Living Trust Attorneys Assist Families With the Drafting and Administration of Revocable Trusts
Along with wills, trusts are the most widely used estate planning mechanisms. There are an array of specialized trusts which individuals and families use to accomplish specialized estate planning objectives. For example, special needs trusts can ensure that children or other loved ones have necessary resources and retain their eligibility for essential benefits, while charitable trusts can facilitate philanthropic contributions while you are alive and after you’re gone. But as a Boca Raton living trust lawyer will tell you, hardly any tool is more utilized in Florida than the revocable (or “living”) trust.
If you are considering establishing one of these types of trusts, an experienced Boca Raton living trust lawyer at Ellis Law Group can offer you the skilled and compassionate assistance you both need and deserve. Our firm can help you establish personally tailored and meticulously crafted revocable trusts best suited to your individual circumstances and goals. Like all estate planning documents, a living trust should not be prepared without having a holistic understanding of the personal and financial landscape in which it will be used. The size and complexity of an estate and what someone wants to accomplish through their planning can vary drastically. That is why we see it as an indispensable part of our jobs to take the time to get to know our clients and their needs. One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit you; it doesn’t fit Ellis Law Group either. Contact us today to discuss your options.
What Is a Florida Revocable Living Trust?
When people think about trusts, it is not uncommon for them to believe that putting an asset or piece of property in a trust necessarily means that they are giving up control of or access to those assets. With a Florida revocable living trust, that is not the case. You will remain in control of your assets for as long as you choose or as long as you are capable.A revocable trust is a powerfully effective way of protecting and preserving assets and minimizing the practical and financial headaches which often await those left behind after a loved one dies without a trust or a comprehensive estate plan.
When you create a living or revocable trust, you are creating an entity into which you will transfer all or substantially all of your assets. “Funding” your trust involves transferring ownership of your assets –bank accounts, real property, or investments from your individual name to the trust.
The trust vehicle is termed “revocable” trust because you can terminate or revoke the trust during your lifetime as long as you have not become incapacitated. You create the trust, you fund the trust with your assets and as creator/trustee you have the full ability to remove and add assets to the trust.
Throughout your lifetime you manage the trust assets, and can use them for your benefit. Upon your death, a trusted individual you have chosen (the “successor trustee”) will be responsible for paying all claims and taxes, and then distributing the assets to your beneficiaries as directed in your trust agreement.
Our Boca Raton
You may wonder what the value of a revocable living trust is since it does not really change the way you manage, control, or use your assets while you are alive. When you pass away or if you become incapacitated, your revocable living trust will provide your loved ones with many benefits that can make a difficult time a bit easier.
You should consider a Florida revocable living trust for several reasons, but the two most compelling are:
- Probate avoidance. Avoiding probate is one of the key goals of a comprehensive estate plan and one of the primary advantages of having a revocable living trust. The probate process can be expensive and slow, and everything is public record. But if you have transferred your assets into a revocable living trust, your trustee can distribute those assets without probate court involvement.
- Incapacity planning. If you have a revocable living trust, you can designate successor trustees in the event of your incapacity to handle all your financial concerns. This can ensure that the decisions made on your behalf reflect your wishes and goals.
Choosing a Trustee
One of the fundamental decisions involved in establishing a revocable trust is deciding who will serve as trustee (if not you) or as successor trustee upon your death. This is a major decision, your trustee will have significant responsibilities and is the person you are putting in charge in to carry out your wishes and protect the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries.
Given these important and deeply personal obligations, who you choose to be successor trustee should be a loved one or trusted advisor that is intimately aware of and vested in meeting your goals, wishes, and objectives in the event of your incapacity or when you pass away.
Trust and loyalty are important, but you also should take into consideration whether or not your trustee has the skills and judgment necessary to handle trustee tasks. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to have a legal or financial background or know everything about Florida estate law. Most trustees wisely retain the services of an experienced trust administration attorney to assist them in the performance of their duties.
Funding a Revocable Living Trust
Even the best revocable trust documents won’t accomplish much unless the trust is funded. A trust without assets is like a car without gasoline; it’s a perfectly good vehicle, but you won’t get very far.
Funding a trust requires the transfer of ownership of assets to property from the individual establishing the trust to the trust itself so the trust becomes the owner of the transferred assets.
Transferring assets to your trust is a relatively easy process, but the one that is most likely forgotten when acquiring new assets. A good way to avoid assets being left out of the trust, is to do a yearly inventory of your assets, including identifying their value, location, and current ownership. Then take the affirmative steps to officially transfer ownership or title of those assets to the trust.
The kinds of assets you can transfer to your living trust include:
- Real estate, including out-of-state property (which can help avoid the costly and time-consuming ancillary probate process)
- Stocks, bonds, securities, and mutual funds
- Small business ownership interests
- Bank accounts
You can easily designate the trust as your beneficiary on any life insurance policies, making the trust the receiver of the payment upon your death. In the event, you do not name the trust as the beneficiary, proceeds from the policies will not be subject to probate so long as a living individual is designated as the beneficiary. The same applies to IRAs, 401(k)’s, and other retirement benefits.
It is important to remember that individual circumstances and goals will play a significant role in determining which assets should be used to fund your revocable trust and which assets should remain outside of the trust. Tax and other concerns need to be taken into consideration. Working with an experienced Boca Raton revocable trust lawyer who understands how decisions involving your trust impact your overall estate planning objectives is crucial.
Our Boca Raton Living Trust Lawyer Answers Your Top Questions
What are the pros and cons of creating a revocable living trust?
Like all estate planning tools, creating a revocable living trust has both pros and cons. However, for most people, the pros will far outweigh the cons, and their revocable living trust will prove to be the centerpiece of their estate plan. The major benefits of forming a revocable living trust include avoiding probate, providing clear direction for the administration of your estate, and preserving flexibility for the future. On the negative side, adding a revocable living trust to your estate plan can increase the cost slightly up front, but it also provides significant long-term savings opportunities.
If I create a revocable living trust, do I also need to prepare a will?
Yes, creating a revocable living trust is not a complete substitute for preparing a will. A revocable living trust addresses the distribution of your assets, but there are additional issues that you will still need to address through your will. Minimally, these include appointing a personal representative to administer your probate estate and designating who will receive any assets that might fall outside of your trust and other non-probate transfers. If you have minor children, your will is also where you will designate a guardian for your children.
What steps are involved in placing assets into a revocable living trust in Florida?
Generally speaking, funding a revocable living trust in Florida is a fairly straightforward process. There will be some legwork involved, but our Boca Raton living trust attorneys can handle much of this for you, and we will be by your side to make sure you handle the steps you need to take appropriately.
Why is it important to avoid probate in Florida?
There are three main reasons to avoid probate in Florida: (i) minimizing unnecessary costs for your family, (ii) speeding up the administration of your estate (including the distribution of your assets), and (iii) minimizing the risk of estate-related litigation. By establishing a revocable living trust with clear terms for the distribution of the assets held in the trust, you can take a significant burden off of your family.
Can a Boca Raton living trust lawyer help me remove a revocable trust?
As its name suggests, one of the most-important features of a revocable living trust is that it is not permanent. If you decide that you want to make changes, you can modify the terms of your revocable living trust at any time. If you decide that you no longer need a revocable living trust, you can terminate the trust entirely. Many people modify the terms of their trusts as their circumstances change over time, and being cognizant of when changes may be necessary will help ensure that your estate plan always reflects your final wishes.
How can I be sure that a revocable living trust is right for me and my family?
In order to decide whether a revocable living trust is right for you, you will need to sit down and discuss your options with an estate planning attorney. At Ellis Law Group, we are here to help, and our attorneys will be more than happy to speak with you about developing a plan for moving forward.
Contact a Boca Raton Living Trust Lawyer Today
Nothing is more important to you than your family. At Ellis Law Group, nothing is more important to us than helping you protect them. Through comprehensive estate planning, you can bring peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones. A revocable living trust can be instrumental in accomplishing that goal. We have the experience, skill, and insight to establish trust arrangements best suited for your goals as part of an overall estate planning strategy.
If you have questions about revocable living trusts and how we can assist you with your estate planning needs, schedule a consultation with an experienced Boca Raton living trust lawyer at our firm by calling 561-910-7500 or sending an online request. We welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family.