NEW TAMPA ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEYS
TRUSTS IN FLORIDA
Trusts can be very useful tools in estate planning, elder care and asset protection.
Florida statutes, which are derived from the Uniform Trust Code, set forth the requirements for creating, modifying, terminating and reforming a Florida trust. These requirements must be met for a trust to be valid.
There are a wide variety of trusts including, but not limited to, Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Grantor Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Gun Trusts, QTIP trusts, Testamentary Trusts and trusts for minors. Each type of trust provides specific benefits or addresses specific issues or goals.
The individual who creates a trust is referred to as a settler or grantor. A trustee is appointed by the grantor and the trustee then manages the trust and the trust assets. The trustee is a fiduciary and is required to adhere to Florida statutes regulating trustee acceptance, duties, responsibilities, removal or resignation, succession and compensation. Depending on the type of trust that is created, the trustee may or may not be the grantor. When appointing a trustee there are several factors to consider such as the individual’s relationship to the grantor and beneficiaries, the availability and willingness of the individual to serve as the trustee, and any particular knowledge or background that might assist the individual in serving as the trustee.
Trusts provide a variety of benefits including but not limited to:
Minimizing or avoiding probate.
Providing for a minor and avoiding guardianship.
Providing for a child with special needs.
Controlling and structuring the manner in which assets are distributed to a beneficiary.
Qualifying for Medicare/Medicaid.
Trusts can also be created to provide for the care of a pet or to contribute to a charity.
Once a trust is established, the trust must be funded in order to receive the benefits of the trust. In other words, assets must be transferred to the trust in order to be considered trust property. Assets that are not trust property do not receive the benefits of the trust and may be subject to the probate process. However, it is not always appropriate to transfer certain assets to the trust. Though there can benefits, there can also be consequences, such as tax issues, that might arise. Additionally, it is important that the trust address your particular estate planning needs and further your particular estate planning goals.
It is important that you speak with an attorney who can discuss whether establishing a trust is beneficial for you, which type of trust is appropriate your specific needs, and which of your assets should be transferred to the trust once it is established.
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