Living Trust Lawyer in St. Petersburg
A Living Trust can be called by many names. They are often referred to as “Living Trusts”, “Revocable Trusts”, and “Revocable Living Trusts”. For the most part, they are used as a means of transferring assets into the name of a third party, the Trust, while you are alive, in order to avoid the necessity of having to probate your assets after your death. In addition, during your lifetime you can cancel or amend the Trust anytime you desire. This is why it is called “revocable”.
Steps to Creating a Trust
There are several steps in involved in establishing any legal Living Trust.
- Hire An Experienced and Knowledgeable Living Trust Attorney: It is important that you find an experienced Living Trust lawyer that can help you figure out exactly how you would like to set up your estate planning. Some people think they can save some money and use an online service to prepare a Living Trust, but they do so at their own peril. Important questions and information must be obtained in order to determine how to best set up your Revocable Trust. In fact, a Living Trust might not even be the very best form of estate planning for many people, and could lead to problems down the road.
- Consult With Your Lawyer: It is important that you meet and consult directly with a Living Trust lawyer. There are many important pieces of information which your lawyer must obtain from you in order to prepare your revocable Living Trust. Many questions must be asked by an estate planning lawyer, and quite a bit of information gathered to make sure your planning needs are adequately addressed. In addition, your lawyer should be available to answer and address any questions or concerns you might have concerning your estate planning.
- Review and Execution: You will go back to your Living Trust attorney’s office to review your new estate planning documents. Your lawyer should answer any other or follow-up questions or concerns you may have. Following this, you will have an execution ceremony, where you will sign your Living Trust in front of witnesses and a notary public.
- Funding the Trust: Your Living Trust must now be “funded”. This means assets must be transferred into your Trust in order to make it active. Your lawyer will assist you with this process. Until a Living Trust is funded it cannot be active.
- Reviewing the Trust: Your Trust, as well as all of your estate planning documents, should be periodically reviewed with your estate planning attorney, to address to potential changes in your family, health, assets, or the law itself.
It is important to note that some estates may still require probate to some degree, even if a Living Trust exists. This is because all of your assets must be put into the Trust to completely avoid probate. Sometimes this is possible, and sometimes it is not. There are certain assets, for example a motor vehicle, or homestead real property, which for various legal reasons may be better off left out of the Trust. These type assets could therefore require probate for transfer, though it is often in the form of a very simplified and relatively inexpensive Summary Administration.
A defective Trust is almost certain to create expensive and prolonged legal battles, which could have easily been avoided by hiring an experienced estate planning lawyer to prepare the Revocable Living Trust from the start.
In over twenty years as a St. Petersburg Living Trust lawyer, we have seen many incorrectly drafted, executed, or funded Trusts. A defective Trust is almost certain to create expensive and prolonged legal battles, which could have easily been avoided by hiring an experienced estate planning lawyer to prepare the Revocable Living Trust from the start.
David P. Folkenflik, Esq., is an estate and Trust attorney in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and Tampa Bay, with over two decades of experience as a lawyer to help you to formulate your Living Trust and estate plan. Preparation of Living Trust: Following the consultation, your estate planning lawyer will create a Living Trust to fit your specific situation, needs, and wishes. We always offer a free ½ hour initial in office estate planning consultation. Our goal at David P. Folkenflik, P.A. is to provide you with friendly, prompt, and competent legal services at an affordable cost.
The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice as that can only be given by a direct consultation with the attorney after having reviewed your entire matter and relevant documentation. Actual terms and conditions of representation will be contained in the Representation Agreement.