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Revocable trusts and avoiding probate

Some people who live in Florida choose to establish revocable trusts in order to pass their estate's assets to beneficiaries, either in lieu of or in addition to a will. Revocable trusts, which can operate during a person's lifetime, can be used in order to avoid the estate going through the long and often expensive probate process, making them a popular option.

When a revocable trust is set up, a trustee will be responsible for administering its assets. The grantor is able to withdraw money from the trust at any time and in any amount. The trustee will continue managing and investing the assets in the event the grantor becomes incapacitated due to an illness or accident.

Upon the grantor's death, the trustee will then pass the assets contained in the trust to the grantor's named beneficiaries. Revocable trusts do not go through the probate process, which is a court-administered process by which assets in estates are normally passed. Trust assets, such as real estate holdings, bank accounts and other valuables must be transferred into the trust prior to the person's death in order to receive the best benefit from the trust. Some assets may incur income taxes upon transfer, however, so the grantor must be certain to understand all of the potential tax consequences prior to transferring certain types of property.

There are numerous advantages to setting up a living trust. The trust may be an important and valuable estate planning tool. An estate planning attorney might help by setting it up and providing advice about the potential tax consequences transferring certain types of property into the trust might have. Normally, people will have a living trust in addition to a will as part of their overall estate plans. Estate planning should involve careful consideration of taxes, avoiding probate as much as possible and funding considerations.

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