Florida Revocable Trust Attorney
A Florida Revocable Trust is a document that allows you to transfer ownership of most of your assets from yourself to the Trust, with you (or someone you choose) as the Trustee. You may hear Revocable Trusts also referred to as “Living Trusts” or “Revocable Living Trusts” in Florida.
What Does a Revocable Trust Do?
There are two main types of estate plans: Those built around a Last Will & Testament, and those built around Revocable Trusts.
Like a Will, the Revocable Trust contains instructions about the distribution of your assets when you pass. Unlike a Will, the Trust is not part of the public record – so upon your death your assets are distributed privately and without the need for probate. The Trust is “revocable” because you may cancel it at any time, or change it in any way you need.
To summarize, the main benefits of a Florida Revocable Trust are:
- Your estate is kept out of probate, allowing your affairs to be settled more quickly, privately and at less expense
- If your estate is taxable, there may be tax advantages
- Allows a successor trustee to manage your assets if you become incapacitated or die
- Offers protection against court-appointed guardianship should you become disabled
The parties in a Revocable Trust are:
- Grantor or Settlor: The person who creates the Trust
- Trustee: The person responsible for managing the trust assets. This can be you or a person or corporation that you appoint. With yourself appointed as the initial Trustee, you hold the title to the trust assets as the Trustee and manage them just as you did before the Trust was created. You would also name one or more successor Trustees in the event of death or disability.
- Beneficiaries of the Trust
Before a Florida Revocable Trust is effective, it must be funded.
Once the Trust is set up, it is still not actionable. To be effective, you must fund the Trust. This means that the title to your assets (i.e. bank accounts, stocks, real estate) must be formally transferred to the Trustee of your Trust before the time of your death. You may also designate the Revocable Trust to be the primary or contingent beneficiary of assets such as IRAs and life insurance.
Many Attorneys do not assist with the critical step of funding a Trust. When you work with my firm, I am available to assist you in making certain that all assets are legally transferred and titled to the Trust.
How does a Florida Revocable Trust avoid probate?
After you pass, the named Trustee would distribute your estate to the named beneficiaries with little involvement from the courts. Probate is avoided because there would be no “probate property” titled in your name when you pass.
For example, Mary Brown creates the “Mary Brown Revocable Trust,” where all property owned by her (such as real estate, bank accounts, and stocks) is transferred to the “Mary Brown Revocable Trust.” Upon Mary’s passing, she doesn’t own any property—her Trust owns it—and therefore probate is avoided. The Trustee of the trust would take care of Mary’s property distribution upon her death.
Important! A Revocable Trust is Not a Medicaid Planning Tool
In Florida, a Revocable Living Trust does not protect your assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs. Why? Because your assets are still available to you. In other words, as a Medicaid applicant, you would not meet the Medicaid asset limitations.
However, an Irrevocable Trust is an asset protection vehicle. If you or a loved one is in need of Medicaid planning, please contact me for detailed answers to your specific needs.
Is a Revocable Trust Right For You?
Your best action is to consult with an Elder Law Attorney who can advise you on your entire situation. Trusts are considered on a case by case basis. During our estate planning consultation, I’ll review what assets are involved, how they are titled, who the beneficiaries are, and how you want that asset to pass to your beneficiaries.
The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia will assist you in making an informed decision as to whether a Florida Revocable Trust is something you need as a part of your estate plan, or whether you can accomplish your goals in other ways. I welcome your call at 407-478-8700 or contact us online.