People in Florida generally prefer not to think about death. However, estate planning is a critical part of planning for the future, as without an estate plan, people's assets may not end up in the intended hands when they pass away. A living trust is a particularly handy estate planning vehicle.
A living trust is also commonly known as a revocable trust. The benefit of using a trust is that any assets that the trust owns can avoid probate. In addition, a trust can prove helpful for disability planning.
The problem with many estates, however, is that the owners of these estates skip an essential step. Step one of establishing a trust is to have an attorney prepare a trust agreement and have all involved individuals sign it. Afterward, the trust must be funded, meaning that legal title to all assets must be transferred to it.
Transferring some assets to a trust, such as personal effects and household items, is relatively easy. Some simple language or an asset schedule will do the trick. However, the transfer of other types of assets, such as real estate or automobiles, can be a little more involved. Unfortunately, neglecting to get these assets transferred to a trust properly means that these assets will not be protected long term.
An estate planning attorney can help with putting together a well-thought-out estate plan, including a trust, that reflects the wishes of an asset owner in Florida. The attorney can also provide the guidance needed to make sure that all assets are transferred to a newly established trust in a timely and proper manner. The attorney's ultimate goal is to make sure that the client's and his or her loved ones' best interests are upheld during all stages of the estate planning process.
Source: forbes.com, "Avoiding 7 Deadly Estate Planning Mistakes", Bob Carlson, April 20, 2018