A trust is a special document that allows Florida residents to designate how certain property should be managed for a specific party or parties’ benefit. The benefiting party of a trust is referred to as the beneficiary. In the case of a living trust, the trust is enacted during the trust grantor’s lifetime, rather than being enacted at the time of his or her death.
All of the terms of a trust are laid out in the trust document called the Declaration of Trust. Trust documents will be governed by local law where it was created, so it is important to gain the assistance of a local in-state attorney when it comes to drafting a living trust.
The designated trustee of the trust will have the legal obligation to carry out the trust’s instructions to the letter, and in compliance with the law. If the trustee fails to carry out his or her duties in this regard, he or she could be personally liable for any resulting damages. For example, a trustee who does not appropriately invest a trust’s assets might be liable to the trust for resulting investment damages.
Living trusts are particularly valuable for bypassing the probate process. Probate is the court process that pays off an estate’s debts and distributes remaining property to heirs. Probate can be costly and time consuming for heirs to endure. Through a living trust, though, heirs can skip the process, save months of waiting and enormous expenses by getting most if not all of their inheritances immediately.
It is not advisable to try and create a living trust on your own. Florida residents looking to create such a trust may want to consult with a Florida trust planning attorney before doing so.
Source: FindLaw, “Living trust information,” accessed Sep. 11, 2015