Control Asset Disposition, Avoid Probate, and Plan for Generational Gifts
At Ginn & Patrou, P.A., our St. Augustine trust attorneys assist clients throughout St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Palm Coast, Ponte Vedra, and Daytona with simple and complex trust creation and administration. Our experienced local trust lawyers understand Florida trust and inheritance law as well as Federal tax law, enabling them to provide you the most streamlined and tax-advantaged disposition of your property. If are considering a trust, make sure to also read our Guide to Florida Estate Planning.
Understanding Florida Trust Basics:
As local trust and estate attorneys, a common question we hear from clients is “why do I need a trust” or “what is a trust.” In short, a trust is a legal entity which can receive, own, and transfer property.
A trust involves three different roles, some of which can be filled by more than one person:
- The Grantor or Settlor (the person creating the trust and normally our client);
- The Trustee (initially this is normally the same person as the Grantor, but after the grantor passes, the trustee is a third-party administrator of trust assets, which is normally a close family member, the attorney who prepared the trust, or a trust company); and
- The Beneficiary (the individual entitled to receive the trust’s property, normally the children of the Grantor, or the Grantor’s friends, family, or selected charity).
Advantages of Using a Trust:
As local St. Augustine and Jacksonville trust attorneys, we are often asked “what is the advantage to using a trust in Florida.” Our trusts attorneys can help you gain several advantages by using a trust. Below are three key advantages:
First, a trust can help your estate avoid probate – allowing your property to be distributed to your beneficiaries upon your death as you specify, without going to court or paying up to a 3% attorneys probate fee on total value of your estate. Furthermore, the use of a trust can avoid the publicity and time associated with a formal probate, as a formal probate can take years to administer, while a well-designed trust can be almost immediately administered by the trustee after the creator passes.
Second, a trust allows you to set specific conditions which a beneficiary must meet prior to receiving trust property. For example, a trust set up for a child can require the child to turn 25 or to graduate college before receiving trust property – or it can distribute property or money to the child over a period of years instead of a lump sum.
Third, transferring assets to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of children, charities, or others can result in significant tax savings for individuals who are subject to federal estate tax. As of 2019, federally taxable estates are defined as those where an individual has a net worth of greater than $11.4 million or a couple with a net worth greater than $22.8 million. For such estates, a tax of 40% is levied upon estate assets which exceed the exemption amount. Our local estate tax attorneys can help you plan for the potential tax liability through the use of a trust.
If you would prefer that your assets pass to your beneficiaries at your death without the hassle and expense of probate, or if you would benefit from lower tax consequences or greater control over how and when your property passes to your beneficiaries, contact us today to assist you in creating a trust.
If you located St. Augustine or the surrounding area and would like to take advantage of the convenient estate planning solutions trusts can provide, call our experienced trusts lawyers at Ginn & Patrou today at 904-461-3000 to schedule a free phone consultation, or contact us online by clicking here.
Located in historic Saint Augustine, Ginn & Patrou is able to serve clients throughout Northeast Florida including Palm Coast, Ponte Vedra, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Palatka, Saint Johns County, Putnam County, Duval County, and Volusia County.