Death is something people do not like thinking about, but not preparing for what will inevitably happen is a less attractive alternative. Controlling where assets will go and avoiding family conflict are two basic goals of estate planning, but there are other possibilities as well. A common misconception among many Florida families is that trusts are tools only for the wealthy and are prohibitively expensive to establish. In fact, a revocable trust can be beneficial for many people who wish to protect their families without costing a fortune.
Although there are many types of trusts that can be employed to protect estates of varying complexities, a revocable trust can be constructed in a straightforward manner to pass along assets to beneficiaries and avoid probate in the process. Legal experts point out that probate can be a lengthy and expensive procedure but may be necessary if title to an asset needs to be transferred from the decedent to a beneficiary. Assets in a trust generally do not come under the jurisdiction of the probate court.
It is called a revocable trust because the individual who creates it, referred to as the grantor, has the full and complete power to change its terms or revoke it entirely during his or her lifetime. At the grantor’s death, the trust immediately becomes irrevocable and the distribution of assets according to the trust’s terms begins. Revocable trusts can be written for married couples, whereby the trust continues after the death of the first spouse but becomes irrevocable after the second spouse passes.
An estate planning lawyer can provide counsel and guidance on revocable trusts as well as other important documents. Having a will as well as health care and financial powers of attorney can also be advisable.