When should you establish a living trust?

Everyone should have an estate plan in place, no matter how young or how old they are. There are so many aspects of proper estate planning to consider, but one of the most beneficial options is to establish a living trust.

A will is different than a living trust in that it only benefits your heirs after you die. A living trust legally exists until you die. Once you die, a trustee distributes the trust property to your beneficiaries or to continues to manage it for their benefit.

Like a will, a living trust can instruct division of property. It also offers benefits a will cannot, such as helping you manage your property while you are still alive. It 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.

There are generally two kinds of living trusts: A revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust means that you amend or change the terms of the trust whenever you want. Because you have options to tweak terms of the trust, you don’t get a break from estate tax. An irrevocable living trust, as you may have guessed, is a trust you cannot change. It is usually only done to produce tax or asset protection.

Most prefer a revocable living trust, because it can be changed at any time as life circumstances change. It also can prevent or ease the process of probate, which can be expensive, lengthy and cause hurt feelings and resentment among relatives after you are gone.

So when is the time right to establish a living trust? Now. Do it as part of your estate plan, along with your will, funeral and burial instructions and other preparations. Seek the advice of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney who can take a look at your assets and guide you along the way to ensure you and your family are protected for the long haul.

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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