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Florida Specific Living Trusts

We're tried to convince you that you might not need one, but you still want one. So, we're going to help you make one, and it will be the best in class for Florida. Let's talk about Florida-specific living trusts.


Form America LLC is not a law firm. We are a document prep company that uses legal software to help you create forms that you need, such as legal trusts that are State compliant and self proving. If you are looking for legal advice, contact an attorney. We are able under State law to help you complete the legal drafting of the forms needed to form and fund your Living Trust. Attorneys charge on average $1,000 to $3,000 for the formation of a living trust. Then, some charge you annual maintenance fees while others charge you transactional fees when you need to add an asset or delete an asset from your trust. We charge a flat rate of $650, and give you instructions of how to maintain it without additional fees. We're also going to recommend that you have a will as a backup for $249, but that's up to you to decide.


What Is a Living Trust?

A "living" trust (also called an "inter vivos" trust) is simply a trust you create while you're alive. The beneficiaries you name in your living trust receive the trust property when you die. You could instead use a will, but wills must go through probate—the court process that oversees the transfer of your property to your beneficiaries.

Many people create a revocable living trust as part of their estate plan. These trusts can be modified or revoked at any time. Typically, you'll name yourself as the "trustee" of your trust. This means that while you are alive, you retain control of the trust and its property. In your trust document, you will also name a "successor trustee" to take over and manage the trust (distribute your property) after you die. (If you create a shared living trust, as is often done by spouses, then your successor trustee would assume control after both spouses have died.)


Do I Need a Living Trust in Florida?

In most cases, no. That's the honest answer. Most people can use a self proving will to transfer simple assets to their loved ones. Wills are a lot cheaper, simpler, easier to create, and easier to maintain.

When you set up a living trust to transfer your property to your loved ones after your death, you can potentially save them time, hassle, and money. Property left through a will (rather than a living trust) might be tied up for months or even years in probate court, and could involve court costs and lawyers' fees. By contrast, property left through a trust can be distributed to your beneficiaries almost immediately, and often without the need for an attorney.

However, Florida is one of the states that has adopted the Uniform Probate Code, a model law that streamlines the probate process. In other words, probate in Florida might not be quite as cumbersome as it is in other states. The wills that Form America LLC creates are called "self proving" wills which means they generally will pass through probate uncontested.

In addition, Florida has simplified probate processes for "small" estates:

Your estate can qualify for a shortcut called "disposition without administration" if there is no real estate in the estate, and the property is exempt from creditors' claims, except amounts needed to pay funeral expenses and two months' worth of the expenses of a last illness.

Your estate can qualify for a shortcut called "summary administration" if the value of the entire estate (minus property that is exempt from creditors' claims) does not exceed $75,000 OR it has been two years since the deceased person died.

Because Florida's probate process is more streamlined, you might not need to worry about making a living trust just to avoid probate. The same goes if your estate qualifies for a simplified version of probate. Still, there are a few other advantages of making a living trust.


In Florida, If I Make a Living Trust, Do I Still Need a Will?

Yes, you'll still need a will. This might seem confusing—isn't the point of a living trust to avoid needing a will? Yes, it is, and your will might never be used. But you should still write one, for one or both of the following reasons:

Designating a guardian for minor children. You cannot use a trust to name a guardian for your minor children. For this reason alone, if you have minor children, you should write a will that names the guardian.

Accounting for property that you have not transferred to your trust. It happens all the time—people create a trust and forget to formally transfer property to the trust (for example, they never get around to changing the deed on their house). Or, people buy or inherit property after they've set up their trust, and forget or don't know to take ownership as the trustee of their trust. Either way, the property will not be distributed according to the terms of the trust. You should have a will as a backup to dictate how assets that are not in the trust should be distributed.

If you don't have a will, any property that isn't transferred by your living trust or other method (such as joint tenancy) will go to your closest relatives as determined by Florida state law. Consider the will a "catch-all" and we'd rather sell you a cheaper will than a living trust. We're not trying to "sell you" on anything. If you want a trust, we will make you a great one. However, you might not need it.


Can a Living Trust Reduce Estate Tax in Florida?

Probably not. Most people do not need to worry about federal estate taxes because the federal estate tax is levied only on estates worth close to $12 million. Florida does not have its own estate tax.

That said, if you have an estate worth close to $12 million (or you and your spouse or partner have a combined estate of close to $24 million), you might be able to use a more complicated trust (such as an AB trust) to reduce or avoid estate taxes. We don't make those, and we will send you to an attorney to get one of those structured if you need one.


How Do I Make a Living Trust in Florida?

Form America LLC assists you in making one at your direction. We help you with the forms. Consider it white glove consierge service DIY. We help you with answers you provide to fill in the forms for you to get the trust that you want. Here's what we do:

To make a living trust in Florida, you:

  • Choose whether to make an individual or shared trust.

  • Decide what property to include in the trust.

  • Choose a successor trustee.

  • Decide who will be the trust's beneficiaries—that is, who will get the trust property.

  • Create the trust document. We interview you and provide the software that will do the work for you on making the legal documents for the formation of your trust.

  • Sign the document in front of a notary public.

  • Change the title of any trust property that has a title document—such as your house or car—to reflect that you now own the property as trustee of the trust. We provide you with step by step instructions for moving assets into your trust.

Based on your responses to our questions from our State certified software, Form America LLC produces a living trust document customized for you and your situation, and we help you make this for hundreds to thousands less than a law firm might charge you for an identical formation.

Contact to schedule a free consultation before we get started on helping you create your living trust.

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