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The Infinite Benefits of a Revocable Trust
A revocable trust provides the grantor with many incredible benefits and opportunities. In 2011, the estate tax will increase to 55 percent on everything over the first million dollars. A million dollars may seem like a lot of money, but it’s very small when you consider that it includes life insurance money, the value of your home, stocks, bank accounts, retirement accounts, jewelry, paintings, and anything else. You may have title in your name at the time of your death. This tax has bankrupted families.
By using a revocable trust as the centerpiece of a foundational estate plan, we are able to double the federal estate tax coupon amount from $1 million to $2 million, saving your beneficiaries $550,000.
Beyond estate tax protection, probate will completely avoid distributing assets through a revocable trust. Probate is the process of consolidating all assets held in the deceased’s name. These assets can include houses, cars, bank accounts and even life insurance policies or retirement funds. Many people believe that making a will can avoid probate, but probate will be necessary whether or not the deceased left a will.
The cost of probate of an estate will usually be between four and seven percent of the value of the entire estate and can tie up your assets for between six and eighteen months without any contests or challenges. Additionally, the probate process is made public and your family’s dirty laundry is aired for the entire community to see.
A third benefit of using a revocable trust is the ability to control your assets after you’re gone. In Florida, a person is able to control his or her estate for up to 360 years after death. Typically, we create a trust to control the assets until the grandchildren reach a certain age or meet a certain goal. Access limit is not always determined by the age of the beneficiaries. Sometimes you need to protect a child from their own bad financial tendencies. Sometimes you have to create a special needs trust to provide accommodation for a child who receives financial assistance from the government. For any and all considerations and concerns, a revocable trust will allow you to distribute your assets appropriately for your lifetime and those you love.
Another benefit of using a revocable trust is the automatic asset protection you are able to provide to your beneficiaries. When your assets are distributed through a will, the beneficiaries receive the assets outright without any protection. A bad divorce, car accident, lawsuit, or even existing creditors can take these assets from your beneficiaries. However, when you distribute your assets as a revocable trust, your beneficiaries will receive the assets in the trust. They will have equal access to the assets you wish to bequeath to them but those assets will be protected from creditors, lawsuits, divorce or any other financial threat your beneficiaries face.
There are many reasons to make a revocable trust the centerpiece of your comprehensive estate plan. If you have assets worth more than $75,000, a revocable trust is a virtual necessity. For more information about revocable trusts, please contact your South Florida estate planning and asset protection attorney. Trusts are very complex documents and should never be attempted without the guidance of a legal professional who specializes in such matters.
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