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Do we need a trust? We have seven figures in assets including a house, and no debt.

1 Answers. Asked on Mar 05th, 2017 on Trusts and Estates - Florida
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Answered on Mar 06th, 2017 at 8:18 AM

Trusts are useful to avoid the expense and time of probate, to keep ownership and inheritance information private (probate documents are public), and to provide for more control over how assets are managed and distributed, both during your life and after your deaths.  Although trusts have been used in the past for estate tax avoidance, Florida does not have an estate tax and the federal estate tax only applies to estates worth more than 5.45 million. 

Trusts cost some money to execute and administer, so you should balance your interest in saving your beneficiaries time and some effort after you die with your spending some money and effort now.  If you want to control your beneficiaries' access to their inheritances after your death (for example, distributing income only until beneficiaries reach a certain age or for life, with the principal going to second generation or even continuing), trusts also can be useful.

If you do not end up forming a trust, I would recommend a Will.  Florida also has a somewhat unique homestead law that limits how your residence can be distributed upon your death.  This depends on how your house is owned and who survives you, and is worth your learning more about before you draft either a Will or a trust. 

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