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Estate planning and revocable trusts

The benefits of estate planning affect more people in today's economy than ever before. Still, when most people hear the words "trust fund" they think of a wealthy individual setting vast sums of money aside for distribution to specified beneficiaries after their death. This article will demonstrate that customized trust instruments are not restricted to the wealthiest among us.

Many Florida residents have substantial assets that could warrant creating a trust within their estate plan. Different kinds of trusts are meant to yield specific outcomes. Making sure that you achieve your unique needs requires careful assessment by an experienced legal professional. In today's post we take a brief look at revocable trusts and what they have to offer.

Revocable Trusts And Flexibility

Estate planning attorneys share that many clients seek a simple revocable trust to ensure that assets are transferred to beneficaries according to their wishes. This type of estate planning document is only one of many tools available, and it is important to understand its limits to determine if creating a revocable trust is best in your situation.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of a revocable trust is that its terms are generally flexible. The trust creator (grantor/settlor) may, while alive, move assets into and out of the trust as situations change. A grantor/settlor might even direct some assets into the trust after death using precisely-worded provisions to ensure that tax deferred or protected assets retain those protections.

Flexibility in the distribution of assets is also an attractive feature to a revocable trust. Assets can be divided any way the grantor desires according to applicable state and federal laws. A trust may even direct that separate trusts be established upon the grantor's death for individual beneficiaries with customized distribution plans. At the same time, the settlor can specifically exclude family members from receiving an inheritance if that is what they desire.

Privacy

Holding property in a revocable trust can avoid the probate process. This might be important to you especially if you have assets in other states that would otherwise require ancillary probate administration. In addition, probate actions are a matter of public record - but because trust transfers avoid probate, the process remains private.

Caution

Putting assets into a revocable trust does not protect those assets from creditors or civil judgments, at least not while you are alive. Such protections may exist for those named as beneficiaries of a revocable trust. To ensure that level of protection for yourself it may be necessary to restrict distributions from a trust to fixed amounts that could cover health, education, maintenance and support needs.

Bear in mind that this post is not intended to provide a full risk-reward analysis of revocable trusts, only a broad-stroke view. For confidence that an estate plan will meet your specific needs, work with an experienced attorney at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. today.

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