Can we still get a trust in addition to our will? 2 Answers as of July 29, 2011

I live in Fl and am re-doing our will. We have 4 teens. Should we get a trust in addition to our will? We were told that if you didn't have an estate over 3 million that it wasn't necessary. That a trust would be a waste of money since the life insurance policies have listed the kids as the beneficiaries. But what about the house?

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Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
Obviously you were not taking with a lawyer. I am not saying you need a trust, but to state that if you do not have over 3 million you do not need a trust is crazy. No one needs one, but almost all can benefit from one. If you would like to talk about it, I would be happy to discuss your specifics in a free consultation and tell you the advantages and disadvantages for your specific situation.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/29/2011
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
Generally, if a couple comes to me with minor children, and they have assets (such as a house, bank accounts, retirement, life insurance), I will almost always recommend a trust. One of the main reasons to have a trust (if you do not have estate tax issues), is to avoid probate, and in the case of minor children, avoid a guardianship over the property. You stated that your minor children are the beneficiaries of the life insurance. This is not good. In Florida, if a minor child comes into more than $15,000 (such as in the case of inheriting life insurance), a guardianship must be set up (and this can be very expensive) and the guardian will have to account to the court on an annual basis until the child is 18. If the policy amounts are paying out more than $15,000 to a minor child, the life insurance company will not give it to them without the guardianship being set up. In a guardianship, once the child turns 18, they will receive the money outright. How many 18 year olds do you know are capable of handling over $15,000 in cash when they turn 18? Not many. By having the policies pay to the trust at death, the trustee can control how the money is doled out for the minor children, the money can be used to pay for education expenses, or however you decide to set it up. You could even dictate that the children do not get the money outright until a certain age. A trust also avoids probate which involves a court proceeding that can take six months to a year to complete and can also be expensive. A probate is necessary where you own assets solely in your name. Remember, assets that are titled jointly, or have beneficiary designations, do not go through probate. I do not recommend titling assets jointly with minor children. In almost every case, setting up a revocable trust is much less expensive than having your assets go through probate and/or guardianship proceedings. Sincerely, Laurie E. Ohall Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. 9350 Bay Plaza Blvd., Suite 120-04 Tampa, FL 33619 813-514-8180 (office) 813-514-8181 (fax) online at: www.ohalllaw.com *Licensed in FL and OH Notice: Unless clearly indicated otherwise, nothing in this e-mail should be construed as legal advice. This e-mail transmission may contain confidential and privileged information. Unless you are the addressee (or authorized to receive messages for the addressee), you may not use, copy or disclose to anyone the message or information contained in the message. If you have received this message by mistake, please advise the sender by reply e-mail and delete this message. Circular 230 Disclosure: Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/28/2011
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