A revocable living trust could help you to avoid probate by removing most of your assets from your estate prior to your death. The probate process is intended to distribute those assets that belonged to you at the time of your passing. If your assets are primarily in the name of a trust, you will not have a reason to take on probate.
The probate process can be long and costly. From providing notice to creditors to collecting and auditing the list of your assets, probate could make your beneficiaries wait for months before receiving their inheritance.
Why Avoid Probate?
There are many reasons why avoiding probate is worthwhile, and a revocable living trust could help for any of these reasons. For example:
Probate Records are Public
If you value privacy or would prefer that the specifics of your estate are kept secret, probate might be a problem. These records are open to the public, meaning anyone can learn how your assets were divided upon your passing. Keeping prying eyes away from these details is a viable reason to avoid probate.
Probate Takes Time
The probate process can be lengthy in Florida, according to The Florida Bar. There are certain steps in the probate process – like requesting letters of administration or paying debts and taxes – that will take a set period of time. Your loved ones can expect to wait several months for the process to conclude. During that time, your heirs will not have access to your assets.
Probate Can Be Costly
There is often a steep financial cost for probate. There are fees for filing a probate action that must be paid to the court. What’s more, you may need to pay accounting fees, which can vary depending on the size of the estate.
To consult with an experienced trusts and probate lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
How Revocable Living Trusts Could Avoid Probate
It is possible to avoid probate in Florida with a revocable living trust. By placing your valuable property in a trust, a trustee owns the property at the time of your passing. This makes the process of transferring your trust property much simpler, as the trustee will be able to execute your intentions. As such, a revocable living trust can be a convenient way to circumvent the need for opening a probate case following your passing.
The good news is that the trust documentation can ensure that the trustee distributes your property according to your final wishes even after you are gone.
When Probate Could Still Be Necessary
Despite your best efforts, a mistake in your trust documentation could require your loved ones to probate your estate after your passing. If you fail to transfer all of your assets into the trust prior to your death, those assets may have to go through probate. This is especially common in cases where an asset is obtained or purchased long after the trust documents are created.
For that reason, it is vital that you regularly update your trust documentation. While this is especially important when you make major life changes or purchase new assets, it can be helpful to review the specifics of your trust document on a regular basis.
Other Alternatives to the Standard Probate Process
Some estate plans make use of a “pour over will” that transfers any remaining property in your name to the trust upon your death. In these cases, the vast majority of your assets could avoid probate while a small portion of your estate could be dealt with through Florida’s simplified probate rules.
These rules allow for a faster process for small estates. In these cases, avoiding the worst of probate could be possible. You can use the simplified probate process if there is no real estate involved and no claims from creditors, among other scenarios.
An Attorney from Our Team Can Help You with a Revocable Living Trust
Ultimately, a revocable living trust could avoid probate by taking formal ownership of your assets. With this property no longer in your name, your loved ones could avoid having to go through the probate process at the end of your life. Avoiding probate could be the best option for your loved ones after your passing. It could allow them to receive the benefits of the trust faster and avoid unnecessary costs and delays.
In addition to discussing the benefits of a revocable living trust, we can also answer your other estate planning questions such as:
- What is the difference between a will and a living will?
- Do I need a will and a revocable living trust?
- Can I make my own will, or should I have an attorney assist me?
- How do I arrange guardianship for an adult loved one?
- What are the benefits of working with an attorney for estate planning?
If you have questions about how a revocable living trust could make sense as a part of your estate plan, call (407) 578-1334 for a consultation with Bogin, Munns & Munns.