A “trust” is a legal arrangement regarding property, in which the creator of the trust (called Settlor) transfers ownership of assets into care of a Trustee, who holds legal title to property of the settlor with equitable duties to administer it for the benefit of a Beneficiary. A Settlor can be the same person as trustee and there can be more than one Beneficiary of the trust, including the Settlor. The document that creates the trust and establishes the responsibilities of the trustee and the rights of the beneficiaries is called the “trust”, “trust instrument” or “trust agreement”. In order to form a valid trust, one must meet certain legal requirements. A trust should be prepared by a licensed attorney.
The main advantage of creating a trust (as opposed to a will) is to avoid probate proceedings and spare your beneficiaries the expense and delay of probate court proceedings after your death. Certain trusts can be also used for asset protection against creditors (irrevocable trusts) and to preserve a disabled person’s ability to receive disability benefits, while keeping their assets (special needs trusts).
Probate is a court-supervised legal process, through which the assets of a deceased person are identified and distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries under a will or, if there is no will, pursuant to Florida probate law. A will typically appoints a personal representative to administer the estate. If the deceased left no will and there are assets to be probated, the estate of the decedent must be distributed pursuant to probate law. Generally, the decedent’s assets are identified and gathered and they are first used to pay the costs of probate proceedings, then to pay the decedent’s debts, and the remainder is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries.
There are many different types of trusts. Attorney Aga Piasecka can assist you with your trust in Clearwater, Florida. Attorney Piasecka offers FLAT RATES for the preparation of trusts.
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