Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Do I still need a will if I create a revocable living trust?

Revocable living trusts have become a popular estate planning tool in recent years.  Trusts offer several major advantages over a traditional Last Will and Testament, but they may not be right for every person.  Below, our Tampa estate planning lawyers review some of the advantages and disadvantages of revocable living trusts.  Contact our firm for an individual review of your unique circumstances to determine if a trust is best for you.  

Advantages of Revocable Living Trusts 

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using a revocable living trust is the fact that you can avoid probate.  Probate in the state of Florida can be an expensive and time consuming process.  During the probate ordeal, your estate will be subject to taxation and court fees, while your heirs may be stuck waiting without the funds they need in your absence.  The entire process is also public, exposing your assets to the world. 

With a trust, your assets can pass seamlessly to your named beneficiaries.  There is no need for probate, so long as all or most of your assets have been retitled into the trust’s name.  This will save your estate from taxation and your heirs from much stress.  Additionally, your assets will remain private with a trust. 
Further, a trust allows you to address certain issues having to do with your assets while you are still alive.  Your trust can outline procedures for determining whether you are incapacitated.  If you are found incapacitated, the terms of the trust will allow for the management of your assets by your named trustee.


Potential Drawbacks of Trusts 

Trusts can come with some drawbacks.  For starters, it can be more expensive to create a trust than a will.  Trusts have more upfront costs, such as attorney’s fees and costs to fund the trust.  The funding process itself is time consuming.  You will need to change the ownership of your major assets, which may involve quitclaim deeds, new stock certificates, and retitling of cars and boats.

Another drawback to a trust is that you will still likely need to make a will.  Wills tied to trusts are known as pour-over wills, and they “catch” any assets left out of the trust.  Your will is also important to name a guardian for your minor child.  In sum, trusts benefit many people, but may be unnecessary for those with few assets.  Your estate planning attorney can better advise you as to whether a trust would be the right estate planning tool for you.