Many people believe that a living trust is unnecessary, whether it be because they have few assets or since trusts can be lengthy, complicated documents that are sometimes hard to understand. Nevertheless, people should consider a living trust in order to avoid probate. A properly drafted living trust, coupled with the assistance of re-titling assets to that trust, will allow you to avoid the hassles of probate. The following are four reasons why you should want to avoid probate.
1. Time – A normal probate in Florida can take up to nine months, or even several years depending on the size and complexity of the probate estate. During this period, the court oversees the management and distribution of the probate assets, preventing the distribution of major assets until after the probate is resolved.
2. Expense – The national average cost of probate is approximately 10% of the value of the estate, with most of that going to the probate attorney. You can avoid this cost by creating and re-titling assets to a living trust.
3. Control – If a beneficiary is unhappy with what they receive under the will, or if they are omitted altogether, they could contest the will, which for various reasons could result in the court not following the final instructions in your will. A properly drafted and executed trust, on the other hand, is subject to less scrutiny and is less likely to be challenged.
4. Publicity – Probate court records are PUBLIC RECORDS, including accounting and financial information. To avoid having your wishes and financial information open to the public, create a trust. Trusts are private documents that are not open to the public and provide families with an easy transition of assets.