Trust Lawyers in Vero Beach, FL
You want your affairs in order when you pass away or become incapacitated. That way, rather than disputing over who gets what, your beneficiaries can focus on celebrating your life. This is where creating a trust comes in. With a lawyer’s help, you can create a trust that clearly outlines your wishes and expectations when you pass away. You can also set up a trust that organizes your finances during your lifetime.
A Vero Beach trust lawyer from Lulich & Attorneys can guide you through this process. Our law firm will work to ensure that your loved ones don’t have to go through probate and all the hassles it entails.
To connect with our team and explore your legal needs and options in a no-strings-attached consultation, call us today.
Our Vero Beach Law Offices Can Handle All of Your Estate Planning Needs
Trusts are sometimes more complicated than wills, requiring you to take specific steps. Wills are also typically one document, whereas trusts can involve several types of paperwork. That doesn’t mean trusts aren’t worth considering in your estate plan.
You don’t have to go through the process alone.
Our lawyers can assist with:
- Choosing a trust that fits your situation
- Drafting the details and terms of the trust
- Identifying and titling assets to put in the trust
- Navigating real estate paperwork
- Selecting a trustee to manage your assets
- Resolving any disputes that arise
- Coordinating your trust with other estate planning needs
However, trusts are just one facet of estate planning, which encapsulates all aspects of preparing your affairs for your passing or incapacitation. We can assist with other estate planning matters like your last will and testament, living wills, do not resuscitate (DNR) directives, and power of attorney documents.
Our Team Can Help You Determine What to Put in a Trust
The best way to understand trusts is to think of them as their own entities. Rather than giving your assets to a person or a company, you give them to the trust. In other words, the trust technically owns those assets, not you.
This is how trusts help you avoid certain probate issues. Since you didn’t own the assets in the trust, they are not included in how the law takes stock of your estate.
This doesn’t mean you must place all your assets in a trust. What’s more, what someone else puts in their trust is not always the best choice for you.
Our estate planning attorneys can help identify which assets to include in your trust, such as:
- Real estate properties
- Bank accounts
- Personal property, such as priceless collections
- Insurance policies
On top of determining how to fund your trust, our firm can help you with the process, such as titling your assets to make sure they go into the trust.
We Help Families Understand Their Choices for Trustees
Trusts typically involve three parties:
- Grantors. These parties create and fund the trust. If you create an estate plan and draw up a trust, you are the grantor.
- Trustees. Trustees manage the trust once it’s created. Sometimes, you can also name yourself the trustee so that you can still control the assets in the trust.
- Beneficiaries. These parties receive the trust’s assets.
Even if you name yourself the trustee, at a certain point, your trust will have different trustees who will manage the trust once you cannot. The person or entity you choose as the trustee can depend on the trust and its assets.
Some options include:
- Family members
- Trust companies
Choosing the right trustee has less to do with your relationship and more to do with their ability to manage your assets. This is why lawyers, accountants, and trust companies sometimes serve as trustees. Choosing them also avoids hurt feelings or frustrations with friends and family. However, if you have a friend or family member who is adept at managing finances, they might make a good fit as a trustee.
If you don’t know, our Vero Beach trust lawyers can identify traits to look for in a trustee to help you narrow down your choice. We have extensive experience in trust law and can walk you through everything to ensure you understand the role everyone plays in your trust's formation and management.
Advantages of a Trust for Vero Beach Estate Planning
Not everyone needs a trust as part of their estate plan. When deciding whether it’s right for you, consider factors like:
- The size and scope of your estate
- Any medical diagnoses that could incapacitate you
- If you have charitable giving in mind
- Aspects of your estate you want to keep private
If you have a large, complicated estate, sometimes a trust can provide you with more flexibility in protecting and distributing assets. While wills only go into effect once a person has passed away, trusts can go into effect if you are incapacitated by an illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Perhaps the most common reason for choosing to create a trust is probate considerations. Trusts can bypass some of the challenges associated with these parts of the law.
As the Florida Bar Association outlines, probate is simply a court process for settling a person’s estate after their passing. It is, however, a lengthy process in some cases, taking months to complete.
- Recognizing the decedent’s last will and testament
- Appointing a representative to the deceased’s estate
- Cataloging the deceased’s assets
- Distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries
We mentioned earlier that assets placed in trust belong to that trust, not to the person who created the trust. That means a probate’s tally of assets doesn’t include a trust. In other words, those assets can bypass the probate process and get to beneficiaries faster. Our trust attorneys serving Vero Beach can analyze your unique situation and expedite your case by helping you to avoid probate if at all possible.
Trusts Offer Some Benefits That Wills Do Not
A last will and testament outlines your final wishes, including who you wish to appoint as the personal representative to settle your affairs. You can name specific assets you want to go to specific people. For instance, if you have a valuable jewelry collection you want to go to your daughter, your will is the place to mention that.
Wills and trusts are not interchangeable. While you can choose not to have a trust, you should draft a last will and testament. If you pass away without a will—called dying intestate—probate can last longer. The court appoints the representative for your estate rather than you choosing one in advance. Your heirs and beneficiaries may also receive less once probate is finished.
If you have a trust, you can create a pour-over will. Rather than naming heirs or beneficiaries in your will, this document lists your trust as the beneficiary and automatically transfers assets upon your passing. Our attorneys can help you set up this type of will to transfer property.
Types of Trusts Handled by Our Vero Beach Attorneys
When choosing to create a trust, you actually have several options. Our team can evaluate the details of your situation to advise you on which type of trust best fits your case. Much of the decision comes down to how much control you want over your assets before the trust going into effect.
As the name suggests, you can revoke this trust and alter it. That includes switching out beneficiaries, adding or removing assets, and making other changes. Upon your passing, a revocable trust changes to an irrevocable one, meaning no more changes.
This type of trust is attractive to individuals and families who want to maintain control over their assets while still having a system in place should something happen to them. People with a debilitating or terminal diagnosis may use a revocable trust. In fact, revocable trusts can go into effect if you are incapacitated, not just if you pass away.
Naturally, irrevocable trusts are the opposite of revocable trusts. Once created and funded, you cannot alter this type of trust; only the trust’s beneficiaries can. While this is less flexible than a revocable trust, irrevocable trusts can offer more protection for your assets.
For example, if someone sues you, the other party can’t come after the assets in the trust as compensation. After all, you don’t own them anymore, the trust does. The same is true for debts—placing certain properties in an irrevocable trust keeps them safe from seizure by creditors.
These are just two examples. Nonetheless, because only beneficiaries can alter this kind of trust, you should understand the implications before creating one.
Our Lawyers Can Also Help With Less Common Types of Trusts
Trusts are flexible legal tools, adaptable to various estate planning needs. You may need a trust for a specific part of your plan, such as to provide money to a charity or to pay costs for an incapacitated dependent.
The team at Lulich & Attorneys can help with these specialized trusts. In fact, although creating a trust is typically a more involved process than drafting a will, the beauty of a trust lies in its flexibility.
As your legal support, we work hard to make sure your final wishes are executed down to the finest details. The process to create a trust, especially a unique one for unique needs, is longer because we want to leave nothing out, both for you and for your beneficiaries.
Special Needs Trusts
If you have a dependent with special needs, they may receive benefits through Social Security Insurance (SSI), Medicaid, or other government programs. These programs often have income limits as part of their qualifications.
You therefore don’t want to leave your dependent with too much in assets after your passing, as it might make them ineligible to receive much-needed government benefits. This is where a special needs trust comes in. By placing some assets in this type of trust, they aren’t counted as part of your dependent’s income.
As with any legal matters dealing with government programs, you must consider how you draft this type of trust to avoid mistakes that could cost your loved one their benefits.
Education, Charitable, and Pet Trusts
All three of these trusts set aside assets for specific purposes—the education of a loved one, donations to charity, or the care of a pet. These trusts comprise funds, real estate, or even proceeds from investments.
You can list specific requirements for these trusts. For instance, you can require that the beneficiary of an education trust attend a certain school. A charitable trust can benefit just one charity or several. Likewise, a pet trust can delineate specific instructions for the care of your pet.
Just as it sounds, these types of trusts list grandchildren as beneficiaries rather than children. This name is also given to trusts that benefit someone who is 37.5 years younger than you, whether they are related to you or not. The reason for skipping a generation is usually tax-related.
Our Vero Beach Trust Lawyers Can Answer Your Questions Today!
It’s never too early to get started on your estate planning.
Setting up your estate now, and properly, can avoid countless headaches later on for both you and your heirs. Using do-it-yourself cookie-cutter online forms can leave you and your estate vulnerable to legal challenges. They may fail to address your estate’s important, specific needs.
You or your heirs may not discover the weaknesses in your do-it-yourself estate planning until serious problems arise—which your health may prevent you from addressing or your heirs cannot easily deal with, especially if they don’t get along or disagree on how to proceed.
Calling our Vero Beach trust lawyers, however, can ensure the trust you set up conforms to both your wishes and all legal requirements. Our personalized approach to setting up your trust can clarify your wishes and reduce the chance of disputes.
If you have questions about establishing a trust, avoiding probate, and keeping your affairs private, the team at Lulich & Attorneys in Vero Beach, Florida, can answer them. Call now today by dialing (772) 589-5500.
Estate planning is a comprehensive process that involves making arrangements and decisions to manage your assets and affairs during your lifetime and after your passing. It encompasses the creation of a strategic plan to distribute your wealth, property, and possessions in a manner that aligns with your wishes and maximizes benefits for your loved ones.
Our Vero Beach attorneys have created this guide to help you understand the process of estate planning. Download your copy today!