What is a trust and why might I need to have a Fort Myers estate planning attorney help me to draw one up?

A trust, which is a legal document, is an agreement that's typically forged among 3 people regarding one set of assets. To ensure that your Florida trust is legally binding, it should be drafted with the guidance of a Fort Myers estate planning attorney.

Overview of a Florida Trust

The 3 people involved in a trust are: 
  • the settlor creates the arrangement and names a trustee;
  • the trustee, who holds the legal title to the assets for the benefit of the beneficiary; and
  • the beneficiary, the person for whose benefit the trust is created.  The beneficiary can be the settlor and trustee but if that is true then the settlor/trustee cannot be the only beneficiary.  
  • The trust does not have to be written, but good luck proving a trust if you have nothing in writing, and the testamentary aspects of the trust must be executed with the same formalities of a deed in Florida. 

Naturally, there are legal limitations on a trust; however, it's possible that 1 person can be both the beneficiary and the settlor. It's also possible that the settlor can serve as trustee. There have also been instances in which settlors have had an entity such as a bank named as the trustee.

The Benefits of a Florida Trust

Trusts may offer numerous benefits economically:

  • probate avoidance;
  • privatizing family finances and assets;
  • creditor protection for beneficiaries;
  • avoiding guardianships;
  • having control of the management and distribution of assets while you are alive and after you die; and
  • avoidance or reduction of the death tax with additional planning.

Larger estates typically benefit more from a trust than smaller estates. To find out if you are a candidate for a trust, you should schedule a consultation with a Fort Myers estate planning attorney, who can review your assets and help you make the best decisions to protect yourself and your family.

Help from a Fort Myers Estate Planning Attorney is a Phone Call Away

Fort Myers estate planning attorney Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your Florida trust, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions - 239-939-7100 or 844-357-0572.

Matthew A. Linde
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