J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What are the benefits of an inter vivos trust?

A common concern among Florida residents is their estate and how it will be handled before and after death. Certain strategies are used to make certain that the assets will be dealt with in the way the person wants. This includes an inter vivos trust, also known as a "living trust." This can be a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust. A trustee will manage it and it can be changed. Some choose to manage it themselves. The living trust is a tactic to avoid probate. The size of the estate often determines whether this is the best choice.

There are many advantages with a living trust. It is useful for the person to manage financial affairs. If, for example, there are properties that need to be managed, the trustee can be asked to do that. It cares for the property if the person is disabled. With that, a revocable trust would be used with proper funding and it will then be managed by the trustee. Privacy will be protected in a better way than with a will, as there will not be the need for the records to be public.

The objectives of the person will determine how the living trust will be organized. There will not be the need to change a will or have an executor. There is more control over the assets with a living trust. It is also useful if there is someone who is not living in the same state who will administer the trust. The living trust can avoid a trustee having to adhere to residency requirements. Property held in a different state can also be held onto with a living trust to keep from having to move forward with other legal procedures that can be costly and take up a great deal of time.

Understanding how a living trust works is key before moving forward with it. Knowing one's goals, having a full grasp of all the assets that are in question and the variety of different reasons why a living trust can be useful are all part of the process. It can be useful for Florida residents to get more information about trust administration.

Source: americanbar.org, "Living Trusts," accessed on May 31, 2016

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