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What Is a Florida Revocable Trust and Do You Need One?


More than half of Americans do not have any estate planning documents in place. However, even if they have a Last Will & Testament as their primary estate planning document, their estate still will be subject to Florida probate courts. Entrusting your life savings and assets to a probate court comes with a host of potential issues. Ultimately, it is important that you work on your estate plans proactively.

What is a Revocable Trust? 

You may have heard others recommend putting your assets into a revocable trust. A revocable trust may not be the best option for all Florida residents, but it provides a workable solution for many.

Chapter 736 of Florida statutory law governs the revocable or “living” trust. A trust is a legal document that serves as a “Will Substitute”.  You can manage the assets of your estate during your lifetime and govern their distribution upon your death by the terms of the trust.

As the person who created the trust, you are considered the “grantor” or “settlor” of your trust. The trustee will manage the assets of your trust, similar in many ways to the president of a corporation. Most individuals will serve as the trustee of their own trust during their lifetime. You also will designate someone else to serve as the trustee upon your disability or death.

Revocable trusts are called by this name because the grantor of the trust may terminate the trust or modify it at any time during his or her lifetime. To be sure, during your life, you can manage and invest the property of the trust.

How Do I Access My Assets That Are In The Trust? 

You might be worried about your assets being inaccessible when they are in the trust. As the grantor, you can stipulate that you are allowed to withdraw money or assets from the trust for any amount, at any time and for any reason.

What Are The Advantages of a Revocable Trust?

If you become incapacitated, a trustee, or your successor trustee if you are the original trustee, can manage the trust. The trustee can pay all outstanding liabilities and taxes and distribute assets in the way that you designated before becoming incapacitated.

What Does it Mean To Fund The Trust You Created? 

To reap all of the benefits of a Florida revocable trust, you need to fund your trust during your lifetime. Funding a trust means legally re-titling ownership of your assets into your trust. You’ll need to legally move bank accounts, investments, and real estate into the trust before your death. Any assets that you don’t legally transfer into your trust during your life probably will be subject to Florida probate court after your death.  Avoidance of probate through the use of a revocable trust probably is the primary reason people create a trust.  Most individuals want to avoid the probate process because the of the associated expense, the delay of transferring assets after their death, and the fact that their Will becomes a public document after their death so anyone can read it.

Revocable Trusts Avoid Florida Probate Court 

A revocable trust specifies that upon a grantor’s death, the successor trustee will be named. However, the trust assets remain in the trust and thus the probate court is not needed to re-titled the assets from the decedent’s individual name to the beneficiaries.

If you need to set up a Florida revocable living trust, please contact the experienced St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP for an appointment today. We are ready to assist you in any way we can.




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