If you are considering creating an estate plan, the trust attorneys at the Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. in Port St. Lucie, Florida may be able to help you establish a trust. When you establish a trust, you appoint your assets to be distributed by a trustee, who then manages those assets for a beneficiary. The beneficiary of a trust can be the person who establishes the trust, or it can be your spouse, children, or any other party whom you want to benefit from your assets.

A trust has many benefits when it comes to estate planning. For example, a trust, unlike a will, can avoid probate, shielding your loved ones and family from the stressors of proving your will in court. It can also save your family court costs and estate taxes because, with a trust, the assets are directly passed to your loved ones and probate is not required. When a will goes to probate, your assets, debts, and property will end up on the public record. A trust allows families to transfer wealth across generations privately. With a trust, you may be able to reduce your tax burden. A trust isn’t the best option for everyone, because trusts can be costly to manage. The Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. is a trust law firm in Port St. Lucie, Florida who can help you understand the benefits of establishing a trust and assist you with choosing the best estate planning option for your needs.

Should I Choose a Trust or a Will?

There are many benefits to establishing a trust when considering your estate planning options. With a living trust, your family won’t have to go through probate—the process of proving your will in court. Because your will won’t have to go to court, you can pass on wealth to your family privately. There is always the chance that if your will goes to court that your assets could get tied up in a long probate process. With a trust, assets are directly transferred as soon as you pass away, with no probate process. The other benefit of a trust is that it grants you certain protections should you become ill, incapacitated, or unable to make decisions regarding your assets and finances. A trustee can manage your financial affairs should you become ill or incapacitated, so a trust is a great option for individuals considering end of life planning. With a will, your will might have to go through probate in each state where you have property and assets, while a trust won’t require your family to go through this process. Families who face complex probate processes may choose a trust as a better option for their estate planning needs.

While a trust might be a great option for certain situations, trusts also have their drawbacks, so it is important to discuss your situation with a trust law firm like the Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. in Port St. Lucie, Florida. While transferring wealth through a trust can grant you certain tax benefits, you won’t avoid taxes altogether. Furthermore, you can only transfer assets you have placed in the trust, and it might not be possible to place all your assets in a trust. Finally, a trust can be costly to manage and establish, so it is important to consider the costs of probate and a will and the costs of establishing and managing a trust and then compare your options. When you create a will, the only costs you might have are the legal costs of having a lawyer review your will. Once the will is signed, there are no other costs and fees.

Whether you create a will or a trust will depend on your needs. If you don’t have many assets or beneficiaries, your will can likely go through a simpler probate process, and a will alone might be sufficient. If you have assets in different states, are a high-wealth individual, or if privacy is important to you or your family, a trust might be the better option. Contact the Port St. Lucie, Florida trust lawyer at the Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. today to learn more about your options and rights.

Types of Trusts 

In addition to choosing between a will or a trust, families who choose to establish a trust will have many trust options to choose from. The most common type of trust used for estate planning purposes is a living trust, or a revocable trust. With a revocable trust, you, as the establisher of the trust can also be the trustee and can add or remove property or assets from the trust as you see fit. An irrevocable trust is a kind of trust, that, once it is made, it cannot be changed and property is transferred out of your name permanently. If you place assets in a living trust, and pass away, your living trust will become an irrevocable trust when it passes on to your loved ones, or those you have named as beneficiaries of the trust when you pass away.

Other types of trusts include charitable trusts and special needs trusts. If you plan to pass on some of your assets or property to a charity, a charitable trust can be a great way to do this and it can also offer certain tax benefits. Another kind of trust is a special needs trust. Special needs trusts may be established so that individuals can access social security disability benefits and other government benefits. They can be useful if a loved one needs Medicaid nursing care or if a family member becomes disabled and is seeking to receive government disability benefits. These trusts must be specifically managed to ensure that the disabled individual doesn’t have direct access to the funds. These trusts are important to put in place if you plan to pass on assets or property to a child or loved one who is disabled and who is receiving disability benefits. Individuals can use the money in a special needs trust to purchase a range of goods, services, and basic life necessities.

If you have questions about the type of trust you should establish for your estate planning needs, contact the Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.L. in Port St. Lucie, Florida today. Our trust law firm can take the time to understand your needs, evaluate your situation, and help you establish the trust that is right for you. Contact us today to learn more.