Many Florida families and heads of households have significant assets that they want to protect for future beneficiaries and heirs. Two very effective tools help you to do just that: the living trust and the last will and testament. Here is how they work.

Trusts protect assets while living

When you have significant assets while alive, the best estate planning tool is a trust. You can transfer assets to a trust and designate a trustee to control the assets and only distribute them in accordance with your wishes. A living trust can be revocable, meaning you can change it, or irrevocable, which is a more permanent transfer and has rigid rules for releasing some or all assets.

Some trusts reduce tax liabilities

When you place assets in a trust, you can reduce your actual personal amount of wealth without losing control of those assets. That is a good way to protect valuable assets while lowering your personal tax liability and ensuring a legacy for your heirs. You also can create living trusts that provide income for others while reducing your tax exposure.

Wills control asset distribution after death

A legally enforceable last will and testament is a terrific way to specify which assets go to whom and prevent legal fights after you pass on. A probate court will oversee the assets distribution in accordance with a legally enforceable will, which greatly reduces the potential for familial fighting over assets.

A Florida attorney experienced in estate planning and the probate process may help you better understand which tools would work best for protecting your estate. That will help you to leave a financial legacy for your heirs and chosen beneficiaries. It may also help you lower your personal tax liability and grow an even larger financial legacy.