Wills & Trusts: Do I Need Both?

Attorney Reviewing Documents

Wills and trusts are vital components of estate planning. They both establish a solid plan for asset distribution upon your death, but have major differences that set them apart. Whether or not you need both a will and a trust is determined by your assets, age, and marital status.

What Are Wills And Trusts Good For?

The person who drafts a will or trust with the assistance of an attorney is called a testator. The testator’s position varies within a will and a trust.

A will is a legal plan for where your assets will go, when they will get there, and who will receive them upon your passing. A will does not transfer any funds until the owner of the assets dies. All assets within a will are subject to state, federal, and estate taxes upon distribution. The testator has the power to eliminate or alter the will through specific obligations under Florida state law. The testator of the will must appoint an executor of the estate who oversees the proper distribution of funds upon the testator’s passing. The executor also files the will in probate court while overlooking the process from start to finish.

A trust is an account that allows you to transfer your assets while you are still alive in order to reduce the amount of state, federal, and estate taxes owed. Instead of transferring the assets to beneficiaries or heirs, the assets are transferred into a trust. A testator may appoint themselves as the trustee in order to remain in control over the assets while they are still alive. A Florida Asset Protection Irrevocable Trust will also protect your estate plan from nursing home costs.

What Are The Benefits of Adding a Trust to My Will?

The main goal to avoid probate usually involves adding a trust to your will. There are two main types of trusts in Florida. The older trust is the revocable trust. Revocable trusts are great at avoiding probate, but they do not give any asset protection or shield your assets from nursing home costs. The newest trust is the Florida Asset Protection Irrevocable Trust (FAPIT™). The FAPIT™ avoids probate, gives immediate asset protection and protects your assets from nursing home costs after five years. Pre-planning is the key to protecting your estate.

Call the experts at Vanover Law Firm today at (850) 999-0006 to speak with a Fort Walton Beach attorney about setting up your will and trust.

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