Should A Trust Be A Part Of Your Comprehensive Estate Plan?

Although a last will and testament is the most common estate planning tool, it may not be the best tool for you and your family. A comprehensive estate plan utilizes a number of tools to create an individualized plan that can grow with you and create the best result for your loved ones. One of the most useful and flexible tools in an estate plan is a trust.

You may think of trusts as only used by the very wealthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A trust is simply a way to transfer assets to your designated beneficiaries and determine how these assets are used and distributed.  You can transfer ownership of your property to the trust and choose to name yourself the initial trustee. You retain full ownership and control over the assets, and you can choose to remove them, add to them, or change the terms of the trust throughout your lifetime.

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that you can create and adapt while you are still alive. There are a number of ways to structure a trust, but a very beneficial one is called a “revocable living trust.” The benefit of this kind of trust is that, once you pass, administration of the revocable living trust will pass to your successor trustee and the trust becomes irrevocable. The successor trustee is then responsible for administering the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust.  These terms include who the beneficiaries are, as well as how, when, and for what purpose you want the assets distributed.

Any property transferred to a trust is not included in your estate for the purposes of probate, so the assets can pass immediately to your beneficiaries without the publicity, delay, or cost of probate.

Trusts are great tools that can be integrated into any estate plan. If you are interested in discussing your comprehensive estate plan and learning whether a trust is right for you and your family, please call our St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys at Kira Doyle Law.


Benefits Of Creating A Trust

As mentioned above, one of the greatest benefits of creating a trust is that it allows you to keep assets out of probate and avoid the publicity, time, and expense of a lengthy probate court proceeding. However, there are a number of other benefits to establishing a trust, and our St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys can assist you in determining if a trust is right for you and your family.

Trusts can be structured to:

  • Reduce estate tax obligations;

  • Set age restrictions and conditions on distributions to beneficiaries;

  • Control how much and for what purpose assets are distributed; and

  • Preserve assets over time.


Tailoring A Trust To Suit Your Family’s Needs

There are a number of different kinds of trusts, each with particular restrictions, purposes, and benefits. Our estate planning attorneys have experience working closely with clients to review all possible options and choose the best possible trust structure. A trust should fit seamlessly within a comprehensive estate plan that creates the best possible result.

Once you have chosen the right trust structure for your family, our attorneys will help you set up the trust, draft clear instructions, choose a successor trustee, and help you fund the trust in accordance with all relevant laws and tax codes.

It is always our mission to support your goals and to create the best estate plan for you and your family.


Trust Administration

If you choose to use a trust to transfer assets to your beneficiaries, you will succeed in keeping your estate out of probate. However, if there are assets that are left in your individual name that you do not transfer to your revocable trust, those assets will pass through probate process, and a Notice of Trust will need to be filed with the court. The successor trustee, named in your trust document, will also have to follow the necessary steps to administer the trust in accordance with Florida trust law. Often times, corporate trustees will serve as successors if individuals have no family members or other trusted individuals to name as trustees. 

Many individuals choose to name a professional, or corporate trustee as successor to ensure that a trust is administered properly and in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

If you are interested in meeting with one of our skilled estate planning attorneys to evaluate whether a trust is right for you and your family, please give us a call to set up an appointment.