A revocable trust is a trust wherein the settlor or grantor (person who set up the trust) can change, amend, or revoke the legal arrangement at any given time. Therefore, as long as the trustor is still alive, he/she might retain control over the assets held in the trust while waiving direct ownership over them.
Florida residents often rely on revocable trusts to designate themselves as the trust’s initial trustee (fiduciary) and then designate a successor trustee to manage the property held in the trust in case of death or incapacity.
In this article, you will find out whether a revocable trust is a valuable tool to avoid probate in Florida.
Does a Revocable Trust Avoid Probate in Florida? – The Verdict
Indeed, one of the main advantages of transferring the title of assets to a revocable trust is avoiding probate in Florida. Once a Florida resident dies, the person in control of the decedent’s will must submit it to the court with a petition for probate.
Depending on the will’s validity, the total value of the decedent’s estate, and the date of death, the court will determine whether the estate is subject to probate.
If the will is deemed invalid in court, the deceased person’s estate is considered “intestate” (i.e., without a will). Thus, the estate will be administered and distributed according to the Florida intestacy laws.
Nonetheless, if there is a valid will and the decedent left assets titled solely in his/her name, the estate will likely undergo probate. During the probate process, the court adjudicating the case will oversee the process of execution and distribution of the deceased person’s remaining assets.
Typically, the more formalities required during probate, the longer and more expensive the process tends to be. Accordingly, transferring the title of assets to a revocable trust provides a resourceful strategy to avoid probate altogether and ensure a seamless inheritance process.
Are Revocable Trusts Useful if the Settlor or Grantor Becomes Disabled?
Another advantage of setting up a revocable trust is its flexibility. In this regard, if the grantor becomes disabled or incapable of managing their own property, the trustee (or successor trustee) can step in immediately to manage the assets held in the trust.
Consequently, in case the settlor or grantor becomes incapacitated, the trustee can manage the settlor’s property, pay bills, negotiate with creditors, and handle all decision-making associated with investing in the settlor’s behalf.
Without a revocable trust, the trustor’s immediate relatives would need to proceed with a court proceeding to appoint a guardian. Upon court appointment, the guardian would be in charge of managing the property on behalf of the disabled individual.
Considering court-supervised guardianship requires an expensive and time-demanding process, a revocable trust provides a valuable solution not only in case of death but also permanent incapacity.
Are the Assets Held in a Florida Revocable Trust Safe from Creditors’ Claims and Judgments?
Contrary to the popular belief, the assets held in a revocable trust are not protected from creditors’ claims and judgments – especially if the settlor clearly retains all rights to dispose of those assets.
Ultimately, if the trustor loses a lawsuit to a creditor and the winning party is awarded a judgment, the assets held in the revocable trust will not be protected.
Avoiding Probate in Florida – Immediately Contact an Expert Trust Attorney
Before setting up a revocable trust in Florida, it is crucial to sit down with an expert attorney to assess whether this option suits your case best. Waste no time with uncertainty – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.