Estates: Wills & Trusts

The US Supreme Court in the Case of Clark v Rameker, decided on June 12, 2014 that inherited IRA’s are not protected retirement assets and therefore are forfeited in Bankruptcy. The court ruled that unlike retirement assets, inheritors can’t put additional funds into the account; and they can take money out at any time without penalty.

Trusts

A fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as a trustor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary.

Types of trusts our office prepares:

  • Land Trust – Also known as Illinois-type land trusts, these trusts appoint a trustee to maintain ownership and management of a piece of real property for the benefit of a beneficiary. These trusts may also be held by nonprofit entities for conservation purposes, or by corporations to accumulate large amounts of land.
  • Revocable Living Trust or Inter Vivos Trust – The inter vivos trust, also called a revocable living trust, is often established to avoid the probate process, and make sure that assets go to the trust grantor (creator) intended recipients without a lengthy court process after the grantor’s death.  Typically, the revocable living trust is the “mothership” containing many subtrusts.
  • Irrevocable Living Trust – These trusts are contracts created to transfer or manage assets of an individual that the trust creator claims is not competent to manage property or other assets.  The irrevocable aspect can be limited to a portion of the trust – so other parts of the trust could be changed.  So, depending on the terms of these trusts, these types of trusts cannot be changed or reversed.

Wills

Wills can vary in their length, complexity, instructions, and format. What is important is not the length of the will or even whether it was signed in. What is important is the clarity with which the will expressed the desire of the Testator (person to whom the will belongs).

At Roland H. Acosta & Associates we draft simple, affordable and enforceable wills for our clients.

In order to have a legal will in Florida, several criteria must be met, including the following:

  • Being made by an individual 18 years or older;
  • Written when an individual was of sound mind; and 
  • Witnessed by two individuals

Wills not legal in Florida include the following:

  • Oral wills.  Spoken, rather than written, testaments used when there is not time to draft a written will, or the testator (will-maker) is not physically capable of doing so.
  • Deathbed wills.  Essentially, these are what they sound like: wills drafted when the end of life is imminent.
  • Holographic wills. Informal and typically handwritten, these documents are often hastily drafted.  They are usually found when there is an unexpected tragedy that results in the need for a will to be made as quickly as possible.
  • Do-it-yourself wills.  Commonly found on the Internet and in book form, these wills often use a fill-in-the-blank, one-size-fits-all format.  Do it yourself wills can be legal, but often contain things that make them ineffective or not enforceable.