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Dade City Trusts Lawyer

Engage in thoughtful estate planning while minimizing the time and expense of probate

A will is a foundational estate planning document, and no estate plan should be without one. That said, many people can also benefit from including one or more trusts into their estate plan. A trust can often accomplish the asset distribution function of a will in a fashion that is more advantageous for a number of different reasons. Learn more about trusts below, and speak with a Dade City trusts lawyer about what kinds of trusts may be right for you.

Here are some of the things a trust can do for you

  • A revocable living trust can help you avoid or minimize probate by transferring title to property outside of probate.
  • A trust can leave money with strings attached until a person is mature enough to handle the money without restriction.
  • A trust can require a beneficiary to finish school or encourage other positive behaviors.
  • A trust is a private document not open to inspection by the public as a will is in probate.
  • An irrevocable trust can be an effective tool for asset protection and tax planning.
  • A special needs trust can help a family member with special needs receive financial assistance without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits.

This is how a trust works

The person creating the trust is known in Florida as the settlor. The settlor names a trustee who holds property in trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the trust. The trustee holds legal title to the property, while the beneficiaries have what is known as equitable title. When the time comes, legal title to the property passes to the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the trustee invests and manages trust property to maximize its potential for the beneficiaries.

Here is what you need to make a valid trust in Florida

According to the Florida Trust Code, the following conditions must be present to have a valid trust:

  • The settlor is competent to create a trust, meaning he or she understands how the trust will affect assets and property owned by the settlor.
  • The settlor’s intention to create a trust is evident.
  • The trust is in writing. An oral trust requires “clear and convincing evidence” to prove its existence, which is a high legal standard.
  • The trust is created for a legitimate purpose that benefits the beneficiaries outlined in the trust.
  • The beneficiaries of the trust can be ascertained from the language used in the trust, whether they are specific, named individuals or defined as a class or group.
  • The trust names a trustee who has duties that must be performed under the trust.
  • The trust cannot have only one person who is serving as both the only trustee and the only beneficiary.

A trust that does not meet all of the above criteria may be challenged by individuals who feel the settlor was not competent to create a trust or was the victim of fraud or undue influence in creating the trust. Also, trust litigation may focus on the actions of the trustee who owes fiduciary duties to the trust and can be held liable for conflicts of interest, self-dealing, making bad business judgments, or otherwise violating fiduciary duties.

As an experienced litigator, Laurie Chane is aware of how mistakes regarding the creation of a trust or a trustee’s performance can lead to litigation. The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane devotes the time and attention needed to thoroughly understand your needs and create a valid trust that meets your goals and serves as an integral part of your estate plan.

Help with Trusts and Estate Planning in Dade City and Pasco County

For help drafting, reviewing or revising a trust or other estate planning documents in Pasco County, call the Law Office of Laurie R. Chane to discuss your needs with a skilled and knowledgeable Dade City trust lawyer.

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