Contact Us

What You Need to Know about Florida Trusts

Some people still think that Florida trusts and estate planning are just for wealthy people. However, that’s simply not true. Many people are good candidates for trusts, used to protect their assets and their families. Trusts can also be used to avoid probate, says the article “Common misconceptions about trusts” from the Rome Sentinel.

Who controls my property? The grantor, or the person setting up the Florida trust, has the option of being a trustee, if they are setting up a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust. There are tax differences, so you’ll want to do this with a Florida estate planning attorney. The grantor names co-trustees, if you wish. They are usually a spouse, adult child, or trusted adult. Successor trustees, that is, people who will take over the trust if the primary trustee becomes incapacitated or dies.

Only rich people need trusts. Anyone who owns a home, has life insurance and other assets worth more than $75,000 can benefit from the protection that a Florida trust provides. The type of trust depends on the grantor’s age, health status, and the amount, variety, and location of assets. A healthy person who owns a lot of life insurance or other assets would probably want either a Revocable Living Trust or a Will that includes a Testamentary Trust. However, a person who is over 55 and is planning for nursing home care, is more likely to have an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust to protect assets, avoid probate and minimize tax liability.

Can I access assets in a Florida trust? A properly prepared trust takes your lifestyle and spending into account. Certain types of trusts are more flexible than others, and a Florida estate planning attorney will be able to make an appropriate recommendation.

For instance, if you have an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust, you will be restricted from taking the principal asset back directly. The assets in this type of trust can be used to fund costs and expenses of real property, including mortgage payments, taxes, and roof repairs. An IMT needs to be set up with enough assets outside of it, so you can have an active retirement and enjoy your life. Assets outside of the trust are your spendable money.

Can my children or any others take assets from my Florida trust? No, and that’s also the point of trusts. Unless you name someone as a Trustee with the power to take assets out of the Florida trust, they cannot access the funds. The grantor retains control over what assets may be gifted during their lifetime. They can also impose restrictions on how assets are restricted after death. Some trusts are created to set specific ages or milestones, when beneficiaries receive all or some of the assets in the trust.

Florida trusts are not one size-fits all. Trusts need to be created to serve each family’s unique situation. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney will work with the family to determine their overall goals, and then determine how trusts can be used as part of their estate plan to achieve goals.

Reference: Rome Sentinel (May 31, 2020) “Common misconceptions about trusts”

0

Related Posts

Estate of Charles Schulz…

Charles Schulz's estate made $32.5 million in the past year. That placed third on the list of the highest-paid dead celebrities. Michael Jackson is number one and fellow cartoonist Theodor…
Read more

Does a Will Supersede…

It’s a simple question: do you know who your retirement account beneficiaries are? These tax-deferred accounts are complex, with significant tax implications for heirs that become more challenging if key…
Read more

What Should I Know…

A reverse mortgage is a loan that gives seniors access to the equity they have built up in their home (it is the property’s current value, less any outstanding loans…
Read more