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Trust Administration

Overview of Trusts in Florida:

Trusts are excellent estate planning tools. There are several different kinds, but some of the benefits of establishing a trust include avoiding probate, offering creditor protection for your beneficiaries, providing for beneficiaries with special needs, avoiding guardianship of minor children, allowing your estate to be held in trust until beneficiaries reach a certain age, and reducing estate taxes. By talking with a trust attorney near you, you can identify the best solution for your needs.

Types of Trusts:

Revocable trusts are the most common. They are created during your lifetime, allow you to maintain use and control over your assets, and avoid probate. They are also very flexible and private and can be amended or revoked by you at any time.

Irrevocable trusts are trusts that cannot generally be modified or revoked by the person making them. Some benefits include transfer of ownership, asset protection, minimization of estate taxes, and Medicaid planning. There are different kinds of irrevocable trusts, such as irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT), spousal lifetime access trusts (SLAT), grantor retained annuity trusts (GRAT), and special needs trusts (SNT).

If you’re unsure which trust suits your needs, talk with a trust lawyer near you.

The Players:

The “Settlor” or “Grantor” creates the trust. The “Trustee” manages the trust assets. The Beneficiary receives money or property from the trust.

Types of Assets:

You can use various assets to fund a trust, including real estate, life insurance, retirement plans, bank accounts, and brokerage and investment accounts.

Trust Administration and Trustee Duties:

Trustees are fiduciaries and are held to a very high standard of care. They must be fair and act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

They must:

  • Collect and manage trust assets
  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust
  • Send notices to beneficiaries and keep them informed
  • Keep good records of trust financials
  • File tax returns
  • Prepare annual trust accountings

Breach of Trust:

A trustee commits a breach of trust when they fail to perform their duties and responsibilities, including mismanaging trust assets, self-dealing, and failing to account. Trustees who breach their fiduciary duties can be held accountable.

How Trusts are Taxed:

Revocable trusts are generally disregarded for income tax purposes, meaning the grantor reports income on their individual income tax returns. The trust does not need to file a separate income tax return. Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, need to file a separate income tax return.

How a Trust and Estate Attorney Can Help:

Serving as a trustee is an important role. Each trust administration is different depending on the nature and value of the trust assets and the unique circumstances of your specific situation.

A trust attorney can help guide you through the process to ensure you understand the trust provisions, comply with legal requirements, and avoid disputes.

Call us today at 954-580-3690 with any questions, or complete the easy form below, and we’ll call you to schedule a consultation. We take pride in responding to all inquiries promptly. Our trust attorneys support clients in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Miami, FL.

About The Firm

Since 2011, SJF Law Group has been helping clients protect their families with estate planning, probate & trust administration. We pride ourselves on combining the personalized service and attention of a boutique firm, with the talent and legal acumen of a large firm.

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