While you do not need a will if you set up a living trust, having one could benefit your interests. This is because:
- Wills and living trusts are not the same.
- Some instructions cannot be included in living trusts.
- You do not want to leave any unanswered questions after your passing.
While you can write a living trust and will by yourself, it can help to partner with a lawyer from our firm. We can explain how Florida law applies to your case and how you can keep your family from going to probate court.
The Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust
Per the Florida Bar, both of these documents are designed to give instructions and bequeath property after your passing.
The main takeaway is that a living trust becomes active from the moment it is created. The grantor can distribute property and other assets before their passing. A will, however, only becomes active once the grantor has died.
A Living Trust Does not Include Everything
A living trust primarily focuses on the distribution of property, like real estate, personal possessions, and money. It does not cover things like guardianship of minor children. You would need to include that information in your will.
Some trusts are created solely for tax purposes.
A Living Trust Does not go to Probate Court
Since a living trust goes into effect within the grantor’s lifetime, it does not go to probate court. This is because the grantor and trustee played an active role in the distribution of property.
The same luxury does not apply to a will. Many wills have to go through probate court, which can lengthen the amount of time that it takes for heirs to get their benefits.
Wills are Standard; Trusts are Not
Your last will and testament only needs a bare-bones template where you and a witness verify its validity. A living trust, however, is a bit more complicated.
You will need to understand the value of your properties, including intangible things like stocks and bonds. The properties in your living trust will also be subject to estate taxes, per Florida Statute § 733.817.
To consult with an experienced trusts and probate lawyer today, call 855-686-6752
You Want to Avoid Possible Complications
With a living trust in place, you can address any complications that may impede the distribution of your assets. For instance, if one of your children does not believe that they are getting their fair share, you can preemptively handle those issues.
With a will, however, your beneficiaries will need to go through probate if any issues require resolution. This can:
- Take a long time to resolve
- Involve court fees and other related expenses
- Put a strain on your family’s relationships
- Make once-personal information accessible, since probate records are public
- Involve tedious filing and paperwork
You want your loved ones to have time to mourn your passing and celebrate your life, not focus on the legal aspects of your assets.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You with Your Estate Planning Matters
You do not have to spend hours researching what goes into avoiding probate and writing a will and a living trust – you can have our firm do it for you. When you entrust us with your estate planning, we will:
Help with Your Will
We can explain what items you can account for in your will. Some things that you can control include:
- Who gets custody of your children
- Your funeral plans
- Who controls your stocks and bonds
- Who gets ownership of your businesses
We can also write down who gets possession of your cars, jewelry, and personal belongings.
Avoid Going to Probate
There are some measures that you can take to avoid having your loved ones go to probate. We can help you with this by:
- Writing clear instructions in your will
- Designating clear beneficiaries
- Placing certain assets in a revocable living trust
We can also calculate the value of your properties so that you understand the implications of your decisions.
Call Bogin, Munns & Munns to Discuss Your Estate Planning Case
One of the great parts about estate planning is that everything is completely up to you. You should have a will even if you have set up a living trust because after you have passed away, you want to make everything as easy as possible for your loved ones.
Our Florida law firm has been helping people with their estate planning matters since 1979. You can discuss your options by giving us a call at (407) 578-1334.