Families in Florida often believe that if they have a will in place that it is the end of the story as far as the distribution of the estate. However, they are often surprised to find out that probate is still needed. This can be avoided if there is a trust in place before the person dies, leaving families to consider whether they may need a trust in addition to a will.
Many people do not consider trusts because they think that only the wealthy have trusts. It may surprise them to know that there can even be trusts for a small number of assets. A trust can give additional control over the assets after one dies because the trust instrument can contain provisions governing how the assets can be used.
A trust can even serve as an alternative to a will and accomplish the same purposes. For example, families can opt for a revocable living trust that does practically the exact same thing and not have to go through probate. At the same time, there is more direction on how the assets may be used as well as tax advantages for the estate.
Families will need to weigh the costs of establishing the trust versus the benefits that they can receive from it. In many cases, they may find that the peace of mind and convenience of a trust is well worth the cost. An estate planning attorney may explain how a trust works to a client and detail the steps that are necessary to establish it. Should the family decide that a trust is the best option for them, the attorney would assist them in establishing the trust and doing all of the necessary paperwork. Trusts must be established precisely and correctly in order to be legally valid.