What is a Trust?

A Trust is a separate, private, legal entity that can hold and manage assets for your benefit during your lifetime and for the benefit of your heirs after your passing. A Trust is either a Revocable Trust or an Irrevocable Trust. Revocable trusts can act as “will substitutes,” allowing you to transfer assets to your beneficiaries after you pass away. They are often used to create other, specialized trusts after your death to provide for a loved one’s care, pay your estate taxes, or shelter your assets from your family’s creditors. Irrevocable trusts can be used to manage your family’s assets, reduce estate taxes, and protect your loved one’s eligibility for means-tested government benefits.  Please see question #9 for further explanation on the differences between Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts.

Along with a copy of the Trust, you will need to sign supporting documents that accompany the Trust. These include:

  • The Certificate of Trust: This is a signed affidavit containing the main terms of the Trust that financial institutions often want to see.
  • Assignments to Trust: This legal document assigns property to your Trust. There are variations of this document for assigning your Tangible Personal Property, any Business entities you may own, or any items of significant value.
  • Deed to a Trust: This legal document allocates your home or other Florida real property into your trust to avoid probate. We can also prepare a deed not into a trust, which allows you to name someone to inherit your home after your passing. However, this form of deed may have unintended consequences because of unsettled law.