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St. Augustine Trusts Attorney

Helping Families & Individuals Set Up, Administer & Litigate Trusts

Trusts are a highly effective and versatile estate planning tool. They can be used to avoid probate, protect assets from creditors, and minimize estate taxes. They can also be used to provide for a special needs loved one and ensure that your minor children are cared for if you are no longer able to do so.

At Owenby Law, P.A., we have extensive experience helping clients set up, administer, and litigate various types of trusts. Our St. Augustine trust lawyers are also highly skilled in the areas of asset protection and estate tax planning. We can help you create a solid estate plan that will protect your assets and your best interests, both now and in the future.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our St. Augustine trust services. Call (904) 674-8779 or contact us online to request a consultation.

Common Types of Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement in which one party (the trustor or settlor) transfers assets to another party (the trustee) for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary). Trusts are established for various purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, and the management of financial affairs. The terms of the trust are outlined in a legal document called the trust deed or trust agreement.

In Florida, as in many other jurisdictions, there are several common types of trusts. Here are some of them:

  • Revocable Living Trust: Allows the trustor to maintain control over their assets during their lifetime. It can be modified or revoked by the trustor. A revocable living trust avoids probate for the assets held in the trust.
  • Irrevocable Living Trust: Cannot be easily modified or revoked by the trustor. It provides potential tax benefits and asset protection. Irrevocable trusts are often used for charitable giving, Medicaid planning, or minimizing estate taxes.
  • Testamentary Trust: Created through a person's will and only comes into effect after the person's death. This allows for the distribution of assets over time or for specific purposes.
  • Special Needs Trust (SNT): Designed to provide for individuals with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. This allows for the management of funds to enhance the quality of life for the person with special needs.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT): Allows the trustor to donate assets to a charitable organization while retaining an income stream for themselves or other beneficiaries.
  • Charitable Lead Trust (CLT): Provides income to a charitable organization for a specified period, after which the remaining assets go to non-charitable beneficiaries.
  • Marital Trust: Created to provide for a surviving spouse. This trust can qualify for the marital deduction, which may reduce estate taxes.
  • Credit Shelter Trust (CST) or Bypass Trust: Designed to make use of the estate tax exemption for both spouses. It minimizes estate taxes by dividing the estate between a surviving spouse and the trust.
  • Dynasty Trust: A long-term trust that spans multiple generations, intended to preserve wealth and minimize estate taxes.

Benefits of Establishing a Trust

Here are some common advantages associated with creating a trust:

  • Probate Avoidance: Assets held in a trust can often bypass the probate process, leading to a faster and more private distribution of assets after the trustor's death.
  • Privacy: Unlike wills, trusts generally do not become public record, providing a greater degree of privacy for the trustor and beneficiaries.
  • Asset Management and Protection: Trusts can be effective tools for managing and protecting assets. For example, an irrevocable trust may shield assets from creditors or legal judgments.
  • Incapacity Planning: Revocable living trusts can provide for the management of assets in the event the trustor becomes incapacitated, avoiding the need for court-appointed guardianship.
  • Flexibility: Trusts offer a high degree of flexibility in terms of how assets are managed, distributed, and utilized for the benefit of beneficiaries.
  • Tax Planning: Certain trusts, such as irrevocable trusts, can be used for estate tax planning, helping to minimize tax liabilities and maximize the inheritance passed on to beneficiaries.
  • Special Needs Planning: Special needs trusts allow individuals to provide for a loved one with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for government assistance programs.
  • Control Over Distribution: Trustors can dictate specific conditions or timelines for the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, ensuring that the assets are used in a manner consistent with their wishes.
  • Continuity of Management: Trusts provide a seamless transition of asset management and distribution in case of the trustor's death or incapacity, avoiding delays and uncertainties.
  • Family Wealth Preservation: Dynasty trusts, designed to last for multiple generations, can help preserve family wealth by minimizing estate taxes and providing ongoing financial support.
  • Avoidance of Forced Heirship Rules: In some jurisdictions, trusts can be used to bypass forced heirship rules, allowing individuals to distribute their assets according to their preferences rather than legal mandates.
  • Charitable Giving: Charitable trusts, such as charitable remainder trusts, enable individuals to support charitable causes while receiving income or tax benefits during their lifetime.
  • Marital Deduction: Marital trusts can help maximize the use of the marital deduction, reducing estate taxes by providing for a surviving spouse.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Set Up a Trust?

While you are not required to work with a lawyer to set up a trust, it is highly recommended. Establishing a trust involves several complicated legal processes. A mistake could result in the trust not being enforced or the assets not being protected. A St. Augustine trust lawyer will have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the process and ensure that your best interests are protected.

Why Choose Owenby Law, P.A.?

At Owenby Law, P.A., we understand that every client has unique needs and goals. When you choose to work with our firm, we will take the time to get to know you and develop an in-depth understanding of your situation. We will then help you create a solid estate plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Our St. Augustine trust lawyers are highly knowledgeable and skilled in this area of law. We will provide you with the compassionate legal guidance you need and deserve. You can rely on us to be there for you at every stage of the process, from drafting your trust to administering it to litigating any disputes that may arise.

Contact us today at (904) 674-8779 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced trust attorneys in St. Augustine.

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