Naples Trusts Lawyer
Trusts are legal instruments used to transfer assets from one party to another. The creator of the Trust, known in Florida as the Grantor but also sometimes referred to as the Trustor or Settlor, transfers legal title of the assets in the Trust to a trustee, who manages, invests and holds those assets in trust for the beneficiaries of the Trust. The beneficiaries of the Trust are said to have equitable title in the assets and may receive income from the Trust or the Trust assets themselves, depending upon how the Trust is written.
There are many different kinds of Trusts, ranging from the relatively simple to the complex. Many Trusts are designed for specific purposes, but they all have the same basic structure described above and share certain features in common, namely:
Trusts avoid Probate. A chief purpose of Probate is to transfer title to property from the testator to heirs and beneficiaries. Since title to the property has already passed via the Trust, Probate is not needed for Trust assets. This fact saves both time and expense, making Probate easier for the personal representative and helping beneficiaries receive their inheritance faster and more smoothly.
Trusts are private. When a Will is entered into probate, it becomes a legal document that ostensibly is open to the public. In contrast, the contents of a Trust can be kept confidential, preventing the media or the public from learning details about a person’s or family’s net worth and where that wealth is going.
Trusts allow the grantor to control when and how beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
In addition to the above benefits, people create Trusts for many different purposes, such as advanced tax planning or to help a family member with special needs. As a Board-Certified Estate Planning specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates with a Master of Laws degree in Taxation, Naples trust lawyer James R. Nici is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting every kind of Trust. At Nici Law Firm, P.L., we can advise you on the options best-suited to meet your needs and draft any Trusts accordingly. Some of the needs we address most frequently in our southwest Florida Estate Planning practice include:
- Transfer title to assets during your lifetime and remove them from the Probate estate while still retaining control and the ability to benefit financially (Revocable Living Trust)
- Help support a child or grandchild with special needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for financial assistance from the government (Special Needs Trust, Supplemental Needs Trust)
- Provide a Creditor-Protected Inheritance that keeps the inheritance safe from creditors, lawsuits and judgments, divorce, bankruptcy, gambling debts, substance abuse or mental illness (Asset Protection Trust, Spendthrift Trust)
- Leave a lasting legacy to your favorite charity, while still ensuring a lifetime of income for yourself, your spouse, or child (Charitable Remainder Unitrust)
- Donate a substantial gift to charity while ensuring income for a child or grandchild when they are ready to receive it (Charitable Lead Trust)
- Stay in your home as long as you desire, then pass it on to your kids without implicating the federal estate or gift tax (Qualified Personal Residence Trust)
- Receive regular income for years while your investment grows and eventually goes to beneficiaries tax-free (Grantor Retained Annuity Trust)
- Leave gifts to your children and grandchildren without letting the federal estate tax eat away at the estate (Generation-Skipping Trust)
- Ensure that the full value of a life insurance policy goes to the beneficiary and is not lost to estate taxes or counted as part of the taxable estate (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust)
Do I still need a Will?
Even if you think you are leaving all of your property in Trust, there are still good reasons to have a Will. In a Will, you can designate who will serve as the Personal Representative of your estate, and you can name a Guardian for any minor children you may have. You can also make provisions in the Will to account for any property which did not make it into a Trust for one reason or another.
Even though a Trust is not part of the Probate estate, the trustee must still perform many duties in accordance with the Trust documents, including making prudent investments and correct distributions, notifying beneficiaries, preparing documents, filing tax returns and paying taxes, distributing Trust assets, holding property in a sub-trust as appropriate, and more. Trust documents can be intricate, lengthy and highly complicated. Even so, trustees owe fiduciary responsibilities and can be held personally liable if they make mistakes. If you are a trustee or beneficiary dealing with trust administration, we can answer your questions or provide technical assistance with some of the tougher tasks you have to deal with.
Call 239-449-6150 to Talk Trusts with Estate Planning Expert James R. Nici in Naples
Call Naples trust lawyer Nici Law Firm, P.L., at 239-449-6150, or contact us online, to discuss how Trusts can be incorporated into your estate plan with a Florida Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates, and get the right Trust or Trusts to meet your specific needs.