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How a trust helps your assets avoid the probate process

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Trusts |

When Florida residents are beginning to look at estate planning, they probably have plenty of questions about trusts and how a trust might help them as a crucial part of the plan. Most likely, this is because there are many different types of trust to choose from and a variety of goals might be intended by the person who wants to establish the trust.

One primary goal for those who decide to include a trust in their estate plans is to help their assets pass on to beneficiaries while bypassing the probate process. In most cases, trusts are absolutely a good option for accomplishing this goal.

Trust basics

While trusts might seem complicated, the actual legal concept behind them is relatively straightforward. First, there is the person who establishes the trust, known as the “settlor” or “grantor.” In establishing a trust, that person typically wants to create a kind of split ownership of the assets that will be in the trust: one party is responsible for the assets from a fiduciary responsibility standpoint as the “trustee,” while the other party is the “beneficiary” who gets to actually enjoy the benefits of the trust – which might be funds or property, for example.

As mentioned, the assets that are in the trust – or that pass into a trust upon a person’s death – are not part of the probate process. Why? The reality is that the trust owns those assets once they are passed on to the trust; the deceased person does not, and so the assets are not included in the probate process.