Florida Wills and Trusts
A will gives you the opportunity to say which people you want to take care of and how you want to take care of them once you pass away. It is a chance to create a security blanket for your family. You can either have a will that is created specifically to reflect your own personal wishes for your family, or you can have the “one size fits all” default will that the State of Florida gives you if you don’t take the initiative to have your own personal will put in place. If you pass away with your own personal will, you are said to have died testate. If you die with the State of Florida default will, you are said to have died intestate.
The thought of creating a will may be overwhelming because of the unfamiliar terms and concepts involved. At Edwards Elder Law P.A., our estate planning attorneys break the process of creating a will down into manageable steps and personally guide you through each step. We utilize fixed pricing for our assistance in creating a will whenever possible. That way, you have the luxury of working step-by-step through the process at your own pace and can ask questions at each step of the way.
Drafting a Will
Creating a will is like designing a car. You get to choose the model and the color. You get to say what things will be packed into the trunk of the car for distribution once you pass away. You get to map out the car’s route so the driver of the car will know who should receive the specific items packed in the car trunk. You also get to designate the driver of your car. This designated driver is called the Personal Representative (Executor).
The only thing you can’t do with your car while you are alive is buy tires for it. Because of this, your car has to sit in storage until you pass away. Once you pass away, the designated driver (Personal Representative/Executor) has to buy tires for the car before he or she can drive it and make your deliveries. The only tire store in town is the probate court so the Personal Representative has to go to the probate court to buy tires for your car. Once your Personal Representative buys tires, the probate court and probate attorney help your Personal Representative drive the car along the route you mapped out and navigate through any unplanned detours.
Just like a car needs regular oil changes and tune ups to make sure it won’t malfunction when you need it the most, wills also need regular maintenance for optimal performance.
At Edwards Elder Law, we guide you through the steps necessary to keep your will up-to-date and protect your family according to your wishes.
What is a Trust?
A trust can be visualized as a bucket. The trust bucket holds assets such as stock, bank accounts or real estate. The purpose of the trust bucket is to divide the legal title from the beneficial use – It gives the legal title of the asset to one person and the beneficial use of the asset to another person. For example, if you have a minor child or grandchild, you cannot give a minor legal title to an asset. Instead, you use a trust so that the legal title is held by an adult on behalf of the minor child.
A trust generally has three participants. The first participant is the Settlor. The Settlor is the person who owns the assets and sets up the trust. The second participant is the Trustee. The Trustee is the person who gets the legal title to the assets from the Settlor so that the Trustee can hold the assets in the trust bucket on behalf of the third participant, the Beneficiary. The Beneficiary is the person who receives the benefit from the assets that the Trustee is holding in the trust bucket.
Trusts can be useful and appropriate in many situations and can range from simple to complex, but they are all based on this concept: Property is put into a trust bucket so that the legal title can be separated from the beneficial use. Some people’s estate planning wishes can be accomplished with only a will, but some people will need a will and a trust. If you are interested in learning more about wills and trusts and how Edwards Elder Law can help you determine whether a will or a trust will best suit your needs, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Contact us to today to start planning for the future.