A living trust is an effective way to protect assets for your beneficiaries. However, trusts are not necessary for all estates and all situations. If you believe you might benefit from a living trust, contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
An experienced estate planning lawyer in Central Florida can promptly assess your situation, your property, and your assets to provide options for legal directives that will provide you and your family with the most benefits.
What is a living trust?
Trusts are useful tools for protecting property and assets in the event of disability or death. A living trust lets you transfer assets into it while you are still alive. This allows you to access and use the capital you place in the trust. In the event of your disability, your successor trustees can manage assets for your benefit. In the event of your death, the assets in the trust can then be distributed to your beneficiaries, either outright or in a continuing trust. A living trust is an important estate planning directive that can protect assets so that your heirs can fully enjoy them.
What belongs in a living trust?
Part of establishing a trust is making sure your assets are transferred to the living trust. Here is a general overview of assets that may need to be re-titled in the name of your living trust:
- Real estate/real property — Whether commercial or residential, real estate that you own individually and plan to leave to your heirs should be placed in the trust. This process requires that a deed transferring the property to the trust be prepared by a competent attorney and executed by you in order to complete the transfer.
- Personal Property – Your personal property typically doesn’t have a title to change.Personal property, including jewelry, collectibles, artwork, antiques, furniture, cars, trucks, boats, firearms, and any items can be easily transferred with a Bill of Sale.Please note that regulated firearms may require a special trust, known as a Gun Trust.
- Bank accounts, safe deposit boxes — Checking, savings, safe deposit boxes, and money market accounts should be transferred to the name of your living trust. This will require a trip to the bank and a knowledgeable bank professional to complete the transfer. When it comes to CDs, be cautious. Some banks may impose a penalty for transferring a CD to your living trust prior to maturity.
- Investments — Non-retirement investment accounts should also be transferred to your living trust in Florida. Your attorney and your financial advisor should work closely to accomplish this goal. Improper asset ownership can result in unexpected estate plan results.
- Business interests and intellectual property — Before creating a living trust to protect business interests and intellectual property, you must consult with an attorney. Depending on your situation, there may be restrictions on transfers.
- IRA and other retirement accounts — IRAs and 401(k)s cannot be transferred directly into your living trust. However, your trust may be named as a beneficiary.Consult with a legal professional familiar with living trusts in order to avoid unnecessary taxation or undesirable results.
Creating a sound estate plan starts by contacting an experienced lawyer. With the guidance of a skilled Florida estate planning attorney, you can create a comprehensive plan that ensures the fulfillment of your last wishes.
Florida estate planning lawyers protect your legacy
At the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, we provide you with personalized legal care every step of the way. For more information about trusts in Central Florida, call (407) 977-8080 today, or contact us online to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.