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Trust Options in Florida

There really is no such thing as a typical trust. Trust options in Florida are as diverse as the people and organizations that create them and the reasons they have for doing so. Ultimately, a trust is a tool that an attorney must fashion to serve the needs and accomplish the goals of his or her client while avoiding unanticipated consequences and conflicts with state and federal law.

The Florida Trust Code does not establish specific types of trusts but simply sets forth default rules for how they are interpreted and enforced. However, there are several kinds of trusts that people in Florida and throughout the United States use to accomplish a wide array of estate planning and asset management goals:

  • Living or inter vivos trust — This is a trust that you create during your lifetime by executing a trust document. They can be either revocable or irrevocable and can be tailored to serve a variety of needs. Living trusts all become irrevocable upon the death of the creator.
  • Testamentary trust — This is a trust established by a provision of your will. It does not come into existence during your life but can be used as part of an estate plan. Testamentary trusts are commonly used to manage bequests to beneficiaries who are underage, have special needs or otherwise cannot manage money.
  • Revocable trust — A revocable trust can be changed or abolished by the creator at any time while he or she is still alive. This provides flexibility but also defeats some asset protection and tax planning benefits. A revocable trust becomes irrevocable upon the death of the creator.
  • Irrevocable trust — An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once created. Also the creator loses access to the property within the trust except to the extent permitted by the trust terms. An inter vivos trust can be either revocable or irrevocable as designated by the creator. However, a testamentary trust is irrevocable by its nature.

These four categories encompass the full variety of trusts that Florida residents can use to accomplish their estate planning, tax planning and asset protection goals. However, a knowledgeable Florida trust attorney can help you better understand the various specific types of trusts that are available and how you can use them to accomplish your objectives.

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