When people in Florida are creating an estate plan, they might want to consider using a trust instead of a will as the main vehicle. There can be a number of advantages to a trust.

Assets in a trust do not have to go through the probate process, which can take months or even years. Instead, they can pass directly to beneficiaries. Because a trust is private and assets may go to beneficiaries immediately, there is less chance for conflict between family members.

Another advantage of a trust is that it can be used for planning in case a person becomes incapacitated. A will does not take effect until a person’s death, but a trust becomes valid when it is created. A person can place their assets in a trust and continue managing them. The trust can name someone to take over as successor if the creator becomes incapacitated. Creating a trust can be complex, so it may be best to work with an attorney.

One potential challenge in using a trust is choosing the right trustee. In some cases, it may take financial expertise and a substantial time commitment to manage the trust. One solution might be to appoint a corporate trustee and a family member as co-trustees. Some people may want to use both a will and one or more trusts. For example, a will can appoint guardians for minor children. It can also place any remaining assets in a trust after the person’s death. However, a will is not sufficient for every situation. People who want a will but who are also concerned about making a plan in case they become incapacitated might want to consider creating powers of attorney for health care and finances, which appoint individuals to manage those issues if necessary.