Estate planning tools in Florida are not all designed only to serve you after you are dead. In fact, many of them have extensive wealth management and protection benefits for you while you are alive. One of these is the revocable living trust.
A trust is an entity that you create so that when you transfer your assets to it, they do not belong to you anymore. The Florida Bar explains that even though the assets are not in your own name, you can designate yourself as the trustee and manage them on your own behalf. You can also choose to name another individual, or a financial institution or other professional company, to manage your trust for you.
You may also be the beneficiary of your living trust. The dividends and interest from the trust’s investments and other assets can be distributed by the trustee in whatever way you choose.
If you are your own trustee and you become incapacitated, then the person or entity you have chosen as successor trustee steps in and manages the trust on your behalf. You do not have to worry about needing a guardian to take care of your financial affairs because the person you chose is already in place. If you are not the trustee, then your money management simply continues according to your instructions.
When you die, the assets in your trust do not belong to your estate, so they do not go through the probate process. Instead, the trustee (or successor trustee) follows the instructions you included in the trust regarding what to do with them upon your passing, such as distributing them to your heirs.
This general information about revocable living trusts is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.