A Last Will and Testament sets forth how and to whom you would like your assets distributed. The Personal Representative nominated by you in your will is the person to carry out those wishes. (In many jurisdictions, the Personal Representative is referred to as an “Executor”). Your Last Will and Testament is presented to the Court and your Personal Representative must obtain Court authorization to distribute those assets you hold in your name alone, that do not have designated beneficiaries, in accordance therewith. This procedure is referred to as “Probate.” Your Will does not control the distribution of certain assets. It is imperative that the original of your Last Will and Testament be retained in a safe place and that your nominated Personal Representative knows the location of the original.
A revocable trust is called “revocable” because one can change or cancel it at any time. It is called “living” be-cause it is created and funded while the grantor is alive. This is different from a testamentary trust, which is contained in a will and created when the will is probated. Generally the major purpose of the basic living trust is to avoid probate.
Another benefit of a trust is that it is private. The grantor and the trustee have a copy. Probate, on the other hand, results in a public court file. In Florida, the inventory in an estate is sealed from public view, but one can gather information from the public documents. If somebody desires to contest an estate, it is much easier to learn about the estate if it is probated than if it is administered through a trust.
If you have questions regarding a will vs. trust, and which is best for you, please contact our office.
Attorney Michael A. Pyle, of Pyle, Dellinger & Duz, PLLC. 1655 North Clyde Morris Blvd., Ste. 1, Daytona Beach. Phone: 386.615.9007. E-mail: mikepylelegal.com or website: www.pylelegal.com