Many Florida attorneys and financial planners agree on the importance of trusts, but other individuals often fail to take advantage of the benefits they offer. While trusts do not usually result in lowered taxes -- as some people believe -- they can provide a number of other perks.

Trusts can become especially crucial for people who become incapacitated, as it allows them to specify precisely how their medical care is to be conducted. Since a will only comes into effect following death, most experts say trusts are the best way for individuals to ensure their right to make their own medical decisions is preserved.

Another important benefit of a trust is that it allows one to protect and manage assets without having to spend time and money in probate court. While a probate court can provide many of the same functions as a trust, the probate process can be expensive for some individuals and may involve a long wait, especially as the court system deals with recent budget cuts. Additionally, probate courts record all matters that pass through them, making proceedings a matter of public record. Experts say trusts are ideal for those who are wishing to preserve their privacy.

One financial planner and president of the Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami explained that trusts may not be right for everyone. He said that probate court may be the best choice for some individuals, and that the decision of whether to create a trust should be made based on a number of factors, such as family dynamics and estate size. Experts also recommend creating a will in addition to a trust to ensure that any extra assets may be transferred.

Source: Miami Herald, "Trusts can offer families benefits, discretion," Laura Insensee, Sept. 10, 2011