A trust is a legal device that separates control of assets from the benefits of those assets. A grantor funds the trust, a trustee administers it in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the trust document that was written by the grantor, and the beneficiaries (eventually) receive the assets of the trust.
The trust is an important component of most estate plans, if for no other reason than the fact that it shelters assets from the delay and expense of probate. In some cases, the creation of a trust also carries with it important tax advantages. Many different types of trusts are possible, including:
- Living trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Life insurance trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Totten trusts
- Spendthrift trusts
How a Trusts Attorney Can Help You
It is always possible to download a trust template from the Internet. Using one wouldn’t be a good idea, however — every family’s needs are different, and many legal pitfalls await those unfamiliar with the nuances of Florida trust law. An experienced trust attorney can help you with the following issues, among others:
- Selecting which type(s) of trusts would most benefit your family. If you have a disabled child who will need care for the rest of his life, for example, a carefully crafted special needs trust might be exactly what you need. Additionally, you might place the contents of a bank account into a living trust so that your family will not have to wait for probate to close before they can receive the money.
- Helping to integrate your trust into your entire estate plan. A trust cannot be considered in isolation from the rest of your estate plan. You will need to consider your estate plan as a whole, including probate and non-probate assets, and understand the specific consequences of this or that arrangement. An experienced trust lawyer can help you do this.
- Drafting the trust instrument. When it comes to drafting a binding legal document such as a trust document, every sentence — and sometimes every word — has consequences. And these consequences might not play out until after you die. An experienced trust lawyer will fully understand the legal implications of every word in the document.
- Helping you select trustees, alternate trustees, beneficiaries, etc. Who administers the trust if the trustee dies, for example? It is a trust lawyer’s job to consider every contingency.
- Resolving disputes if they arise. A well-constructed trust, of course, is far less susceptible to litigation than a carelessly constructed trust. If a dispute arises, however, your attorney can help you resolve it in the most favorable possible manner.
It’s Never Too Early to Start Formulating Your Estate Plan
If you are considering creating a trust, or if you simply need some help with estate planning, contact estate planning attorney Jose Lorenzo. Call (305) 999-5411, contact us online or visit our office in Coral Gables or Ft. Lauderdale. We accept clients throughout the entire state of Florida.