What You Need to Know about Living Trusts

If you are looking into creating an estate plan, then you need to know about a legal document known as a revocable trust, also referred to as a living trust.  The term "revocable" is used when describing this kind of trust agreement, because you can revise or cancel the trust at any time, as long as you are not classified as being incapacitated.

With a revocable trust, you are able to accomplish two estate planning goals.  First, you are able to use it to handle your assets during your lifetime. Upon your death, the living trust completes another objective, which is to determine how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries.

When you create a revocable trust, you are considered to be the grantor or settlor.  The person who is assigned the responsibility of managing the assets held in the trust is known as the trustee.  As the creator of the trust, you can assign yourself as the trustee or choose another person, trust company or even bank to serve in this role. 

A trustee will be given the task of investing and managing the property and assets held in the trust.  Generally speaking, as the grantor, you can take out trust assets whenever you want.  If you are deemed incapacitated, the trustee has the authority to continue with the trust management, which can prevent the situation where your property needs a guardian appointed by the court.  

When you pass away, the trustee or successor, will be in charge of handling any claims that may arise against your estate and will distribute your property and assets to your beneficiaries who were named in your trust.

A living trust provides many additional benefits.  For example, you can transfer your assets to the trust to avoid probate (if the trust is properly funded) and minimize potential transfer tax issues between married individuals.

If you are looking to create an estate plan, you should contact an experienced Fort Meyers, Florida estate attorney at the Matthew A. Lindde, P.A. at (239) 939-7100.  Our law firm represents clients in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Naples, Immokalee, Lee County, Charlotte County, Collier County, Henry County and Highland County.