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A Revocable Trust is a document created by you to manage your assets during your lifetime and then to distribute those assets remaining in the Revocable Trust after your death.
A Revocable Trust avoids the Probate process when you pass away, which saves you time and money. Additionally, a Trust can be kept confidential, which lets families maintain privacy. Also, a Trust can provide asset protection from a Beneficiary's creditors and may help eliminate federal estate taxes.
Estate Planning is the process by which you anticipate and arrange the transfer of your assets to Beneficiaries in case of your death. Estate Planning usually tries to avoid Probate, help maximize the value of your estate, and reduce your taxes and other expenses.
In Florida, statutes direct how your property is to be distributed. You have lost the right to control distribution of your assets after death.
In Florida, a traditional Estate Plan will include a Last Will and Testament, along with a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, and a Revocable Living Trust.
A Guardian is a replacement decision maker appointed by a Court to make either personal and/or money decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. Florida law requires the Court to appoint a guardian for minors when the parents die or become incapacitated, or if a child gets an inheritance or money from a lawsuit or insurance policy greater than the limit allowed by Florida statute.
Florida law will dictate the distribution of your property if you die without an estate plan. The person who fails to make an estate plan gives up their right to decide how their assets will be divided and who will inherit them. A Personal Representative will be appointed by the Court and your estate will have to go through the Probate process.
Maybe not. If the documents themselves are very simple, such as a Living Will, then you may not need to hire an attorney. Beyond the absolute basics of Estate Planning, however, it is wise to work with an attorney so that you can avoid the kinds of mistakes and omissions that non-attorney created Estate Plans often have. Additionally, because estate planning law is often changing, you will want an attorney to keep up with those changes and tweak your documents so that they are reflective of your wishes.