Generally speaking, a trust is a contract agreement arrangement in which one person transfers property to a second person for the benefit of a third person.
The person creating the trust is called the Grantor.
The person holding legal title to the trust property is called the Trustee.
The person for whose benefit the trust is created is called the Beneficiary.
Initially, the grantor, trustee and beneficiary can often be the same person.
A living trust is set up during your lifetime. Revocable Living Trusts, technically called Inter Vivos Trusts are completely revocable during one's lifetime. Assets can be added or deleted during the life of the Trust and Grantor.
The primary purpose of the Trust is the avoidance of the inefficient and often times expensive Probate Court System. Assets in the Trust can be passed very quickly upon death. The secondary purpose of the Trust is to provide for your needs if you become incapacitated and can no longer manage your own affairs. Additionally, it is the ideal vehicle for holding title to real estate outside your home state. This avoids multiple probate proceedings in each and every state you own any type of real or personal property.
Living trusts are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court.
Florida Statute,736.0815 General powers of trustee.
(1) A trustee, without authorization by the court, may, except as limited or restricted by this code, exercise: (a) Powers conferred by the terms of the trust. (b) Except as limited by the terms of the trust:
1. All powers over the trust property that an unmarried competent owner has over individually owned property.
2. Any other powers appropriate to achieve the proper investment, management, and distribution of the trust property.
3. Any other powers conferred by this code.
(2) The exercise of a power is subject to the fiduciary duties prescribed by this code.
Rights to the Property?
A chief advantage of the living trust is that the Grantor continues to fully control the trust property until his or her death. Only then is the trust property transferred to the beneficiaries named in the trust.
This means that during the grantor's life, the grantor continues to enjoy all income generated by the trust and also retains the right to use all or any part of the trust principal for his or her own needs.
Trusts assure privacy! Probate records are public. Anybody can gain access to your most personal information. Living Trusts are completely private. No one can find out what you own or who your beneficiaries are, trusts are private.
Typical fees to set up an uncomplicated Trust range from about $800 to $1,500. (compare this to the cost of probate)