Some people in Florida may want to use both a will and a trust in their estate planning. A will can appoint an executor and a guardian for minor children. While a will can also be used to pass assets, a trust gives an individual more control over how those assets are passed. Assets passed using a trust do not have to go through the probate process, which can cause delays in beneficiaries getting their assets.
A person may want distributions to be made to children when they reach certain ages instead of having the children receive a lump sum. A trust can be created that specifies this. A trustee can also be given the discretion to release funds to children for certain reasons, such as a wedding or buying a home. Trusts can be helpful in protecting assets for children from a first marriage if the person is in a second marriage.
In addition, trusts can be part of an overall estate planning strategy to reduce taxes. As is the case with the rest of the estate plan, trusts should be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they are still up to date based on a person’s current relationships and assets as well as current tax law.
While a trustee may need to be someone with legal and financial expertise, an executor does not have to be and could hire an attorney to help with probate and estate administration. People who are creating an estate plan may want to keep this in mind as they are choosing individuals for certain roles within the estate plan. Some people choose a corporate trustee and a family member to act as co-trustees so that one trustee has the right professional background and the other understands the family dynamics.