A last will and testament (“Will”) is a legal document that allows you to designate who will be your beneficiaries upon your death. A Will also allows you to designate the guardians of your children if both legal guardians pass away.
A Will is advisable if you have minor children. A Will is also recommended for individuals that want to create a simple plan and do not want to go through the process of creating a Revocable Living Trust.
The one thing you must be aware when creating a Will is that the Will does not avoid probate court. When you pass away, your Will is introduced to the Probate Court in the county where you passed away, to be administered according to the provisions stated in the Will.
Compared to not having any estate plan in place, a Will is better than not doing anything. If you pass away without a Will, then the Florida Intestacy Statute will dictate what happens to your assets.
A Living Trust or Revocable Living Trust (“Trust”) allows you to have control over your assets during your lifetime and in the unfortunate event of your passing.
When you create a Trust you select a Trustee. The Trustee is the person that administers the Trust. During your lifetime, you are typically the Trustee. In the event of incapacity or death, then you designate a Successor Trustee to administer the Trust on your behalf.
Trust have increased in popularity in Florida because they provide a variety of your benefits:
A Trust can be amended any time prior to your death as long as you have capacity. Upon your death, the Trust becomes irrevocable and no longer can be changed.
Compared to a Will, the Trust provides you with a lot more control. With a Will, all your assets get transferred to your beneficiaries through the Probate administration immediately unless you create a “Testamentary Trust.” A testamentary trust is a Will with a Trust which is created upon your death.
The Trust allows you to distribute all your assets upon your death to your beneficiaries or distribute the assets through a series of distributions.
If you have minor children the Trust is particularly useful. Not only does it avoid appointing a Guardian for your child, but you can make sure that the assets are used for his or her education, and that the assets remain in the Trust until an specified event or age.
Whether you want to create a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Trust, Miami estate planning attorney Alain Roman, Esq. is here to help and answer your questions.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can call us at (305) 489-1415 or fill the contact form located in this page.