Estate Planning

What Are Trusts

A trust is an entity usually created by an attorney for the purposes of avoiding probate. A trust, unlike a person, cannot die so if your assets are held in the name of the trust essentially the trust never dies so probate is never necessary. It’s important to determine with an experienced estate planning attorney whether a trust is the right vehicle for you to use.

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What Benefits Does A Trust Offer

The primary benefit of a trust is to avoid probate. A probate is the judicial supervision of distributing someones assets after they’ve passed away. People will use a trust to get out of court and to pass along their assets with little to no judicial supervision.

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What Does It Mean To Fund A Trust

Funding a trust is a very important part of the trust process. The trust itself is the vehicle that’s used to protect your assets. Once a trust has been created, we must title all of your property into the name of the trust. For instance, if you own real estate, your attorney will be preparing a deed that deeds the property from your name personally into the name of your trust. The step of funding your trust is an area that’s very important because the trust doesn’t accomplish what the trust is designed to do if your assets are not held in the name of a trust.

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What Does Joint Tenancy With Right Of Survivorship Mean

If you own property with another person in Florida as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, if one of the co-owners passes away, the other owners automatically inherit their share of the property. It does not pass to their heirs or relatives, but rather passes to their co-tenants on the property.

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What Does Tenants In Common Mean

Tenants in common means that you each have an undivided interest in the property. For instance, if there are three owners of property, each owner has a one-third undivided interest in the property. If one of the owners were to pass away, their one-third interest would pass to their heirs or to their beneficiaries under a will.

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What Forms Of Payment Are Acceptable At The Closing

Typically, most attorneys and title companies will require a wire transfer at closing because of the amount of fraud that’s around today with cashier’s checks, wire is the safest way to get money to the closing attorney or the title company, however, you should always verify on the phone, the wiring instructions with the person that’s sending them to you to make sure you’re sending them to the right place.

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What Happens If I Die Without A Will Or Trust

If you die without a will or a trust, you are considered to have died “intestate”. What that means is that the Florida statutes will then determine how your property is distributed after your death.

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I Did Some Estate Planning In The Past With My Financial Advisor Should I Still Consult An Estate Planning Attorney

If you’ve done estate planning with a non-attorney, it is important to consult with an estate planning attorney to review the documents, to make sure they’re legally sound, and that they actually put your plan into effect.

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If I Have A Revocable Living Trust Do I Still Need A Will

It’s important to have a will even if you already have a revocable living trust. We often refer to these as “pour over wills”. The trust itself must be funded to be effective. So if you later acquire assets that you forget to title in the name of the trust, the pour over will will pour those assets over into the trust, if necessary.

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How Do I Choose An Attorney

It’s important to review an attorney’s experience and qualifications in the area which you’re intending to hire them. For instance, if you’re looking for a residential real estate attorney, have they been involved in a lot of real estate deals? What experience do they have with real estate litigation? It’s also a good idea to have someone you’re compatible with personality wise. The attorney-client relationship is very important, and attorney and client must trust each other to come up with the best outcome.

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