Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

REASONS TO FUND YOUR REVOCABLE TRUST

You have created a Revocable Trust (aka Revocable Living Trust) as a part of your estate plan and wonder what do you need to do next? The first, and most important thing, that you need to do is ensure that it is properly funded by transferring or assigning ownership of your assets and real property to the Trust. The benefit of properly funding your Trust is that you will not lose any control over or enjoyment of the assets. While you are handling the funding process it is important to recognize why you are doing it: Avoidance of Probate Proceedings. The most common reason individuals create a Revocable Trust is to avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised transfer of assets from the estate of a deceased person to his or her beneficiaries. However, if all of the decedent’s assets are held in a Revocable Trust at his or her death, they are not subject to probate proceedings in either their state of domicile and any other in which they may own real property. The successor trustee can distribute the assets to each beneficiary without supervision by the court. Management During Incapacity and at Death. Should you become incapacitated the assets maintained in your Revocable Trust can be utilized by your successor trustee, without the necessity of guardianship court intervention, to handle your financial affairs. Similarly, upon your death, the assets can be seamlessly assumed by your successor Trustee, without the need to wait for probate proceedings, and distributed to your beneficiaries. Privacy and Confidentiality. Unlike a Last Will & Testament that will be filed with the probate court, a Revocable Trust is not a matter of public record. Information is reported privately to the beneficiaries and the public will have no access to this information. Every time a new asset is acquired or account opened by you it should be titled in the name of your Trust.