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The Difference Between A Will & A Trust In Florida Estate Planning

The Difference Between A Will & A Trust In Florida Estate Planning Lawyer, Saint Augustine CityIn this article, you can discover:

  • The purpose and benefits of pour-over wills in Florida estate planning.
  • How to protect business interests in estate planning.
  • The role a trustee plays in managing an estate.

What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust In Florida?

Understanding the difference between a will and a trust is crucial. In essence, a trust places your trustee in control of handling your assets and resolving your estate, while a will informs the court about your wishes.

With a will, the court assumes control of your estate through the probate process. Although courts can become involved in the administration of a trust under certain circumstances, such as malfeasance, theft, complaints, or lawsuits, the primary benefit of a trust lies in granting control and privacy to your family.

A trust also offers flexibility in situations such as providing for a beneficiary struggling with substance abuse, where the grantor may want to ensure regular disbursements rather than granting a lump sum. On the other hand, a will is designed to be probated as quickly as possible, facilitating the prompt distribution of assets. A trust can have a much longer duration than a will, potentially lasting for centuries.

While it is possible to incorporate a testamentary trust within a will, such an approach often negates the advantages of a trust, as it requires the largest assets to go through the probate process. It is strongly recommended to establish a trust before passing away rather than relying on a trust to spring into existence through a will after death.

What Is A Trustee And What Is Their Role?

At the heart of the term “trustee” lies trust itself. A trustee is someone you genuinely trust to carry out your wishes after your passing. While you provide them with instructions within the trust, the role of a trustee extends beyond that. They are the individuals you trust to adapt to changing circumstances, address unforeseen events, and overcome any challenges that may arise. Their primary responsibility is to execute your desires and distribute your estate in accordance with your wishes, regardless of the circumstances they encounter.

The duties of a trustee include consolidating and inventorying assets, providing reports to beneficiaries, and ultimately distributing the assets as outlined in the trust. Serving as a trustee is a serious and challenging role. As someone who has appointed individuals as trustees over the years, I have come to understand the significant amount of work involved. It is essential for the grantor or trust creator to transfer properties and organize the trust well in advance, enabling the trustee to understand and fulfill their responsibilities effectively.

What Is A Pour-Over Will In Florida? How Does It Work?

Having a pour-over will is an important part of a trust package as it serves as a companion to a trust by safeguarding against any assets that were not initially placed in the trust. Its purpose is to transfer any assets that were not included in the trust before the individual’s passing into the trust after their death. This approach helps minimize the assets that go through probate, thus reducing the estate value.

The primary goal of a pour-over will is not only to minimize assets going through probate (as the will itself will go through probate) but also to provide the trustee with complete control over all aspects of the estate.

By consolidating control under the trustee, potential conflicts between different individuals responsible for different aspects of the estate can be avoided. This ensures that everything remains within the trust and allows the trustee to distribute the assets in accordance with the individual’s wishes rather than the probate court.

For more information on Using A Pour Over Will & Trust In Estate Planning, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (904) 650-4262 today.

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