Even though many Floridians may have heard of trusts, they may not fully understand what these important legal documents can do for their estate plans. In fact, proper trust administration does not require a significant amount of effort; your local qualified probate attorney can help you learn more. Today, we will discuss the aspects of trusts that you should discuss with your estate planning professional.

There are several types of trusts, but among the most common are revocable living trusts. Living trusts are legal and financial documents that can be revoked if your estate plans change while you are still alive. Living trusts are generally pretty simple, but they must be approved by an attorney to be valid. The living trust lists several factors, including the property held by the trust, the name of the trustee, and the name of the person who gets the property when the owner of the trust dies.

After first drafting the document, the person initiating the trust can put the assets into the trust at any time. That is, additional assets can always be placed inside the trust as they are acquired. Remember that titled property such as real estate and vehicles must be retitled with the trust as the titleholder. If you fail to title your property, you may have to go through lengthy probate.

Trusts are generally used to avoid significant estate taxes after death. Further, trusts can help expedite the execution of your estate plan, allowing your loved ones to avoid the legal headaches that can accompany probate. Even though trusts can provide this protection, there are other methods for transferring property while avoiding taxes. Consider talking to your legal and financial professionals about the benefits of a trust as compared to simply changing the names on your beneficiary forms.

If you are struggling to understand the role a trust could play in your estate plan, consider talking to a qualified attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about the legal options available to protect your assets after death.

Luis E. Barreto