For years, you have worked hard to build an incredible life for your family. Leaving part of your estate for your loved ones can be an essential part of why you do what you do.
A trust can be a valuable tool for passing on part of your legacy. However, when your estate goes through probate and the court determines your trust to be invalid, it can cause substantial stress for your loved ones.
Here’s what you should know to make sure your trust is valid.
Trusts and wills have traits in common
In Florida, many of the rules that apply to wills also apply to trusts, such as:
- The document must be in writing
- Two witnesses must watch the testator and each other sign the document
- If someone signs in place of the testator, it must be at the testator’s documented direction
When a trust does not comply with the rules, the court could consider it invalid.
What happens when a trust is not valid?
The probate process can be a long one, and it can be frustrating for loved ones to discover that part of your estate plan cannot proceed as you intended. When a trust or other estate planning document is determined to be invalid, your estate could need to go through the process of intestate succession. Essentially, it means that your estate will be treated as if no estate planning documents were in place.
The Intestate succession provisions of Florida law will determine who receives assets from an estate when there are no valid documents to direct the distribution of assets. In these situations, the court reviews who survived you, and who is eligible to receive a share of the estate. In some cases, the court will divide the assets between people within the same category of heirs, such as your siblings, cousins, etc.
When you create a trust as part of your estate plan, it is essential to talk to a knowledgeable professional who will make sure it is valid upon your death.