A will is one of the most basic South Florida estate planning documents, and everyone should have one to make sure that there is no question about what would happen to your assets and kids if something happens to you. But there are some cases when having a trust in addition to a will is imperative; here are six of them:
Avoiding probate. A trust will bypass the probate process, saving the people you love time and money. To carry out instructions in a will, a probate must be opened in the county court of Broward or Miami-Dade, the county where you live, and that means your family is stuck dealing with the Court if you get hospitalized or after you die. This can take an average of 9-12 months, all the while your assets will be stuck in the process.
Providing for a person with special needs. If you have a child or another dependent with special needs, a trust commonly known as a Special Needs Trust can protect assets for a special needs person without jeopardizing their qualification for government benefits. A will allows you to transfer assets to a special needs person, but will not protect those assets.
Privacy. Since a will undergoes probate in South Florida, it becomes public record. A trust is private.
Blended families. If you are part of a blended family, a trust can give you the flexibility you will want to make sure that children from prior marriages are provided for in the way you want.
Out-of-state property. If you own property in another state besides South Florida, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states and that is no fund for the people you love. This can be VERY expensive!
Asset protection. If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including bankruptcy and divorce) a trust is the way to do it. It’s a gift you can give your loved ones that they could not easily (or at all) give themselves.
If you would like to learn more about the use of trusts in South Florida to pass on what you care about to the people you love, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.
About the Author: Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law.
She can be reached at (954) 491-8707
The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.