Revocable Living Trusts

Revocable Living Trust in Florida

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A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) in Florida is a tool often used by estate planning attorneys to avoid probate. A RLT is a document that is created to manage assets during a person’s lifetime and to distribute the remaining assets after the person’s death. The “grantor(s)” or “settlor(s)” is the person creating the trust and the “trustee” is the person(s) responsible for the management of the trust assets. The grantor and trustee can be the same person or the grantor can appoint a separate person to be the trustee for the RLT, it is completely up to the grantor of the trust.
One of the main reasons to create a RLT in Florida is for the avoidance of probate. Probate is a court-supervised administration of a person’s estate once the person is deceased. The probate case has to be filed with the court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death and a personal representative will be appointed by the court to manage and distribute all property owned by the decedent to the decedent’s beneficiaries. Probate is a timely and expensive proceeding and is public record. If a person creates and correctly funds a RLT during their lifetime, probate will be avoided since the trustee has immediate authority to manage any and all trust assets at the decedent’s time of death.
One of the keys to the creation of a RLT is the funding of the RLT. If a person creates a RLT and neglects to fund and title assets in the name of the trust, then the RLT is essentially a worthless document. Once the RLT is created, assets such as bank accounts, titles, deeds, and other assets need to be transferred to the trust. Once the grantor(s) of the RLT dies, the trustee or the successor trustee can administer and distribute assets of the RLT to the beneficiaries of the RLT in a timely and efficient fashion. The responsibilities of the trustee are to hold trust property, invest trust assets, distribute trust principal and income to beneficiaries as directed in the RLT, keep accounts and records of the RLT, provide trust updates and accountings to the beneficiaries of the RLT, and file taxes on behalf of the trust once the grantor(s) is deceased. A RLT is revocable at any time during the grantor(s) lifetime, but once the last grantor dies, the RLT becomes irrevocable and cannot be changed or altered, absent very specific circumstances being met.
If you are interested in discussing whether a Revocable Living Trust is right for you, please contact our office for a consultation. We have experienced estate planning attorneys who would love to evaluate your estate and advise you on the best course of action.