If you have ever thought about estate planning before, you are not strange to the terms “will” and “trust.” However, not everyone understands the key differences between such valuable estate planning tools.
Despite their similarities, they serve distinct purposes. Even better, it is possible to use both to structure an individualized estate plan to meet your needs and goals. In this article, you will discover the difference between wills and trusts in Florida.
What is the Difference Between a Florida Will and Trust? – Understanding the Concept
The last will is the primary estate planning tool. In this document, the person writing the will (testator) outlines who will receive their property upon death and how the property will be distributed to each person.
Additionally, the testator may use a will to nominate a personal representative to administer his/her estate. When the testator passes away, the person in possession of his/her will must file the document with the court to verify its validity.
On the other hand, a trust is a legal arrangement in which a Settlor transfers the title of property to a trustee (fiduciary) for the benefit of selected third parties (beneficiaries). Therefore, a trust may be used to distributed property not only after death but also before death and in case of incapacitation.
Depending on the type of trust, it is possible for a Settlor to name himself/herself as the trustee of the trust. Hence, the Settlor retains control of the assets held in the trust during his/her lifetime while ensuring a smooth distribution process upon death.
Last Will vs. Trusts in Florida – An Honest Comparison
Contrary to the popular belief, a will must be approved by the court before it gets admitted into probate. In addition, a last will covers any property titled solely in the decedent’s name, which is considered property subject to probate.
Any property held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (e.g., tenancy by the entirety) or titled to a trust will not have to go through probate.
When submitted to the court, the will’s validity will be verified. If the will is deemed valid, the court will follow the testator’s intent as provided in the will and appoint the person nominated personal representative (so long as he/she qualifies).
Throughout the process, the court will oversee the administration of the decedent’s estate to ensure the property is distributed as the provisions outlined in the last will. On the other hand, a trust will circumvent probate (if the assets are already transferred to the trust), waiving the need for a court-supervised administration.
As property held in the trust is automatically distributed to the designated beneficiaries, it is possible to save time and financial resources while guaranteeing an expedited distribution of the assets to their respective heirs.
Another characteristic of trust is that they can provide you with more privacy. The will of a decedent, on the other hand, must be filed with the court.
Immediately Contact an Expert Estate Planning Attorney in Florida
Both wills and trusts are valuable estate planning tools; thus, work with an expert lawyer to determine the best approach for your case. Call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.