Planning for the distribution of your assets, the care of your loved ones after you pass away, and the legacy you want to leave behind is an essential aspect of responsible financial and estate planning. While often people rely on a last will and testament as their primary estate planning tool, this may not be the best estate planning tool to accomplish your goals. In fact, in recent years, revocable trusts have gained popularity as an alternative or complementary option. We know you may have questions and we want to share six compelling reasons why a revocable trust may be a better choice for your Florida estate planning needs than a will alone.
- Probate avoidance. One of the most significant advantages of a revocable trust is that it can help your assets avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process. Probate is the legal procedure through which a court validates your last will and testament, settles outstanding debts, and distributes assets to your heirs. This process can take months or even years, and the associated fees can substantially deplete your estate. Revocable trusts, on the other hand, allow your assets to pass directly to your chosen beneficiaries without going through probate, saving time and money.
- Privacy. Wills are typically filed in court and become public records, accessible to anyone who wishes to view them. This lack of privacy can be undesirable for those who prefer to keep their financial matters confidential. Revocable trusts, however, remain private documents. The details of your assets, beneficiaries, and distributions are not made public, providing a greater level of privacy for your family and estate
- Increased flexibility. Revocable trusts offer greater flexibility compared to wills. You can make changes to the trust document, add or remove assets, or amend beneficiary designations as your circumstances evolve. This flexibility can be especially beneficial in situations where your estate planning needs change, such as the birth of new family members or changes in your financial situation.
- Incapacity planning. A revocable trust is not only a tool for after your passing but also an effective tool for planning during your lifetime. If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, the successor trustee you appointed can manage your assets on your behalf without the need for court intervention. This can help ensure that your financial affairs are properly handled according to your wishes, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
- Avoiding ancillary probate. If you own property in multiple states, your estate may be subject to probate in each of those states, resulting in additional costs and delays. By placing such assets in a revocable trust, you can avoid ancillary probate, making the distribution of your out-of-state assets more efficient and cost-effective.
- Continuity of asset management. A revocable trust allows for a seamless transition of asset management in case of your incapacity or death. The successor trustee you appoint can step in immediately to manage the trust assets, pay bills, and ensure the financial well-being of your family. This continuity can prevent financial hardship and disruption during challenging times.
While both revocable trusts and last wills and testaments serve important roles in Florida estate planning, the choice between them ultimately depends on your unique circumstances and objectives. This is a conversation you will want to have with your Florida estate planning attorney. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney is essential to determine the most suitable approach for your specific needs. The advantages of a revocable trust in terms of probate avoidance, privacy, flexibility, incapacity planning, avoiding ancillary probate, and continuity of asset management, however, make it an attractive option for many individuals and families.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, estate planning issues. At Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.