At Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A., we often encounter clients in Florida who’ve heard about trusts but are uncertain about their details or advantages. Trusts, in the most basic terms, are arrangements that allow one party to hold assets on behalf of another. Florida laws offer some unique perspectives on trusts, and we’re here to help clarify them for you.


Why Consider a Trust in Florida?

Trusts are more than just jargon tossed around in financial and legal circles; they serve as powerful instruments in estate planning. Here’s a deeper look into their benefits:

  1. Protection During Incapacitation: Life is unpredictable. If a situation arises where you’re unable to manage your affairs, a trust can ensure your assets remain protected and used according to your wishes.
  2. Efficient Asset Transfer: The probate process, where a will is verified, can be lengthy and cumbersome in Florida. Trusts offer a more streamlined approach, transferring assets to beneficiaries without getting entangled in probate courts.
  3. Tax Benefits: Properly structured trusts can offer significant tax advantages, minimizing estate and inheritance taxes, and offering potential income tax benefits.
  4. Guarding Assets for Vulnerable Beneficiaries: For minors or those with special needs, direct inheritance might not be ideal. Trusts allow you to set parameters, ensuring they benefit from your assets in the best way possible.
  5. Preserving Your Legacy: Trusts ensure that your assets are distributed and used in the exact manner you intend, even after your lifetime.


Different Types of Trusts in Florida

With the diverse needs of residents in mind, Florida provides a spectrum of trusts tailored for specific purposes:

  1. Revocable Living Trusts: Imagine having the flexibility to adjust your trust’s terms as life changes. Revocable Living Trusts offer just that. You can make alterations during your lifetime, adapting to new circumstances or beneficiaries.
  2. Irrevocable Trusts: These are set in stone once established. While they might sound rigid, their strength lies in their unchangeability, making them a potent tool for asset protection and tax advantages.
  3. Charitable Trusts: For philanthropic individuals, Charitable Trusts pave the way to support their chosen causes. Not only do they aid in charitable giving, but they can also provide tax breaks, creating a win-win scenario.
  4. Special Needs Trusts: Meticulously crafted for beneficiaries with disabilities, these trusts ensure that those reliant on government assistance don’t lose access due to inheritance. They provide supplemental funds without jeopardizing eligibility for essential programs.
  5. Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT): A strategic tool for homeowners, a QPRT allows for the transfer of one’s residence into the trust, while the grantor retains the right to live in the property for a designated period. This trust can result in significant estate tax benefits if structured and executed correctly.

In Florida’s dynamic landscape, trusts play a pivotal role in safeguarding assets, preserving legacies, and ensuring individuals’ wishes are met with precision and care. With the right guidance, they can be a cornerstone of effective estate planning.


Setting Up a Trust in Florida

Setting Up a trust in Florida requires a precise process. It begins with identifying your objectives – what do you hope to achieve with this trust? Then, with those goals in mind, we’ll draft a trust document, name a trustee (the person or entity responsible for managing the trust), and transfer your assets into the trust. Throughout this journey, we’ll be by your side, offering guidance and ensuring every step aligns with Florida’s legal framework.


Trusts vs. Wills: What’s the Difference?

While both trusts and wills are essential estate planning tools, they serve different functions. Wills predominantly dictate how your assets should be distributed after your death. Trusts, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and can function both during your life and after your passing, depending on the type. Additionally, trusts often provide a smoother, more private means of asset distribution, avoiding the public and sometimes drawn-out probate process.


Navigating Trusts with Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A.

Trusts can seem complex, but with the right guidance, they become valuable assets in your estate planning arsenal. We’ve assisted countless Florida residents in setting up and managing their trusts, ensuring their wishes are honored and their assets protected. We can offer you our knowledge of estate planning gained from helping many others navigate the process in Florida. If you need assistance understanding or setting up a trust, call Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. at (407) 909-1900 for expert help in Orlando, FL, or contact us online.