In most instances, our death and what happens to our belongings after our passing is not a pressing priority until it becomes a near reality. However, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the inevitable. Setting up a living trust is one of the best ways to cover your bases.
Setting up a living trust in Florida will have its own requirements and processes that may differ from other states. That’s why an experienced attorney can be a valuable asset in the process to help you navigate the steps needed to set it up.
With this in mind, it’s also useful to have a base knowledge of what is required.
The Value Of A Living Trust
A living trust is an option in the estate planning process. Also known as a revocable trust, it holds the assets of an individual for their personal benefit during their lifetime. Once they pass, the assets are distributed to predetermined beneficiaries under the supervision of the successor trustee, without the necessity of going through the time and expense of the probate process.
There are several benefits to having a living trust:
- It avoids probate, which is a lengthy and costly process.
- Money can be saved in the long run by avoiding probate.
- Privacy is protected, as it works as a private document that does not become part of public records.
- The successor trustee can assist in the event of incapacitation without involving the court.
- The detailed plan that makes up the living trust offers certainty and peace of mind.
If you’ve made the decision to set up a living trust in Florida, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the steps needed. These steps are affected by Florida’s inheritance and probate laws.
Steps Involved In Setting Up A Living Trust In Florida
If you live in Florida and want to set up a living trust, there are a few steps to take into consideration:
Decide On An Individual Trust Vs. Shared Trust
The difference between the two will depend on whether or not your assets are co-owned. If you’re the sole owner of your assets, you’ll probably opt for an individual trust. If you have a spouse with whom you have joint property, then a shared trust is more appropriate.
Determine Which Property You’d Like To Include
Take inventory of your property and decide what you would like to include in your living trust. Assets to consider include real estate, cars, savings accounts, stocks, and even family heirlooms. Some people also choose to include their retirement account, too.
Choose A Successor Trustee
The successor trustee will take charge of the trust assets after your passing, or in the case of incapacitation. It is the responsibility of the successor trustee to distribute your assets according to your instructions.
Decide On The Beneficiaries
This may seem like an obvious inclusion for your living trust, but it still needs to be considered seriously. Consider the people that depend on you financially, as well as how soon they will need the funds.
Draft The Trust Document
There are a couple of options available to create the trust document, including an online program or the help of a legal professional.
Finalize The Living Trust
Hiring the services of an experienced lawyer is a smart choice to help you navigate the legal requirements and make sure you’ve ticked all of the necessary boxes. This includes signing the trust document in front of a notary public.
Fund Your Trust
The final step is to make sure that all of your preparation, in theory, becomes a reality once you pass on. This is done by transferring your property into the trust with the help of an attorney.
Legal Expertise To Help Set Up A Living Trust
A legal expert will ensure that your living trust is executed in the way that you planned. At Handin Law, we have more than 50 years of experience assisting Florida citizens with their legal requirements. Contact us at 954-796-9600 to find out more.