A “living trust” is one that you create and administer while you are still alive, rather than one that is activated only upon your death in accordance with the terms of your will or other estate planning documents. When creating a living trust, you will designate a trustee to hold the title to all trust assets for your chosen beneficiaries. You can serve as the trustee of your own trust, enabling you to maintain control over all the property placed in the trust.
The primary advantage of creating a living trust is to allow your assets to bypass probate, which can be a long and stressful process for your family members and friends. However, depending on your circumstances, a living trust may or may not be helpful.
Florida uses what’s called the Uniform Probate Code, which outlines a much simpler probate process than those in other states. Florida also has a simplified probate process — called summary administration — for estates worth less than $75,000. It’s unnecessary to create a living trust if the estate will qualify for summary administration.
To create a living trust, you must take three simple steps:
It is important to remember that just because you have created a trust does not mean you should skip making a last will and testament. A will allows you to control the distribution of any property not included in the trust, while also outlining various other wishes for your estate. Both mechanisms may be beneficial to your estate planning process.