Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Avoiding errors in creating a living trust

Florida residents who are creating an estate plan might want to use a living trust. This is a tool that can be used to keep an estate plan private, avoid probate and allow a successor trustee to manage a person’s assets if the person becomes incapacitated. However, there are some common mistakes people make with living trusts that make them ineffective.

One mistake is creating the trust but failing to fund it. Often, people draw up the trust documents and then do nothing further, but assets must also be placed in a trust. For real estate, deeds must be changed. Vehicle titles must be placed in the name of the trust. Financial institutions usually have their own paperwork requirements.

Another common mistake is not bringing in successor trustees early enough. It is important for them to be familiar with the trust. These trustees should also know where to find paperwork related to the trust. People may also want to consider introducing trustees to individuals at the relevant financial institutions. This may make it easier for them to step into their roles, particularly if the trust creator becomes incapacitated.

People might want to talk to an attorney about other types of estate planning tools that may be useful. For example, those who have a trust might want to create a type of will, sometimes known as a pour-over will, that places additional assets in the trust upon their death. Another consideration is a health care directive. This is a document that appoints someone to make health care decisions for a person who is incapacitated.