Many people put off their Estate planning, and it’s often a mistake.
It’s an easy point – prior planning will prevent mishaps later. Do you need a will, or is a trust a better option? Do you need to transfer assets now, or is it better to wait? Answering these questions now will prevent headaches later.
Take real estate, for example. Often a will is all that is needed. But here in Florida, you can add someone to your property with a new deed, and give yourself a life estate. Upon your passing, the property goes directly to your beneficiary. No will is needed. And probate (and attorney fees) can be avoided.
Another great option is creating a revocable trust.
A trust allows you to manage your property while you are living. Upon your passing, you appoint a trustee who distributes the assets. You can also hold assets in the trust, or create a spendthrift trust or special needs trust, depending on the needs of your family. All of this starts with some basic Estate planning, which can be done at a smaller cost than the fees associated with probate.
Probate cases in Florida come in two basic types:
(1) Summary Probates, and;
(2) Formal Probates. Summary probates are generally used for estates that involve assets that are $75,000.00 or less. It can also be used if the loved one has passed more than two years ago. Formal probate is used for all other cases generally. A personal representative is appointed, and formal notice is published in a local newspaper. Summary probate cases can be handled quickly, but formal probates take time because of the publication process. But all of it can be avoided often with a revocable trust, especially when the major asset is a house and the beneficiaries are your kids.
Revocable trusts are great because you can still sell and add assets to the trust. Real estate must be re-titled into the trust, but it can otherwise be sold in the same manner as other property. Retirement accounts can also be retitled, and plan administrators often have forms to handle these requests.
So think about doing some Estate planning now. It will save your family problems in the future. For more information, please see the other information in our website.