What is the difference between and revocable trust and an irrevocable trust – and which is a better fit for me?

A living trust is a trust create to help you manage your assets and offer protection in the event that you become ill, disabled or suffer dementia as you age. It’s designed to protect you and your family before you die. A living trust in Florida is an agreement between you, a trustee and a beneficiary.

There are two common types of living trusts recognized in Florida: Revocable and irrevocable. Each has benefits you should consider that can help your family avoid probate and probate fees.

A revocable trust means that you amend or change the terms of the trust. That’s beneficial, because it doesn’t lock you into a plan just in case your circumstances change. Most trust agreements allow for the withdrawal of money or assets. If you become incapacitated, your trustee can manage your assets, pay bills and invest. A revocable trust can help you get things in place so the transition is easier for your family after you die. That alone can save your family time and money.

An irrevocable living trust, on the other hand, is a trust you cannot change. It is usually only done to produce tax or asset protection, such as to ensure a person receives an inheritance. Most people prefer a revocable living trust because of the freedom it offers.

Whoever you choose as the trustee distributes the trust property to your beneficiaries or to continues to manage it for their benefit after you die. The trust can instruct division of property or help you manage your property while you are still alive. You can authorize a co-trustee to manage the property if you should become ill, injured or otherwise  incapacitated. A living trust negates the need for a guardian, who would have to be appointed and would serve the same purpose for you and your family.

A revocable trust or an irrevocable trust can give you and your family peace of mind depending on your needs. Keep in mind, though, that you will still need to craft a legal will as part of your overall estate planning. A will is backup for any property that is not included in the trust.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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