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3 trust options for high-asset married couples in Florida

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Estate Planning

When estate planning, married couples with high-value assets put a premium on their privacy. That’s why they tend to create trusts over wills to do away with the probate process. This gives added protection for their assets and confidentiality.

However, creating a trust is not simple because it entails meticulous work. You need to choose the right structure to maximize your assets. In Florida, high-asset married couples can choose from several trust options to manage their estate well.

Having a joint revocable trust

Couples may opt for a tenancy by the entireties trust. This joint revocable trust grants the surviving spouse full right of survivorship and control. It also ensures asset protection from creditors unless they have a judgment against the couple.

Creating separate revocable trusts

A more common choice is getting separate revocable trusts to assign which spouse owns the assets. This paves the way for a seamless passing of assets to a separate trust for the surviving spouse. The transferred assets are not subject to federal estate tax and creditor collections.

Moreover, this option gives protection from divorce of a subsequent spouse. It also allows descendants to benefit from assets via generation-skipping trusts.

Setting up a JEST arrangement

Through a Joint Exempt Step-Up Trust (JEST), assets may be irrevocably held for the surviving spouse upon their spouse’s death. This hybrid form of joint trust gives the dying spouse powers of appointment regarding the share of their other half.

The JEST also gives trust assets a full step-up in income tax basis by determining new fair market values. This allows the surviving spouse to benefit from all proceeds upon selling assets right away after the first death. The surviving spouse can also use all JEST assets to fund credit shelter trusts.

Proper management of assets

After years of hard work, you and your spouse deserve to secure your valuable assets. Having a trust ensures protection and continuity of the estate. And it makes sure to provide for your spouse and other beneficiaries when you are no longer around.


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