People in Florida who are setting up trusts as part of their estate plan may be surprised to learn that these types of instruments have become much more intricate over the years. For example, there are new roles and positions possible in irrevocable trusts that were largely not used in the past.
In general, trusts used to have just a trustee and perhaps a co-trustee. Now, although laws vary from state to state, there may be many roles associated with a trust including an administrative or general trustee, a distribution committee and a trust protector. An administrative trustee has duties such as filing taxes and maintaining records. A distribution committee is a separate group that makes decisions about disbursements. A trust protector can have the power to fire trustees.
There are potentially other roles as well, such as a charitable selector, a substitutor and a loan director. The charitable selector can make a charity a beneficiary. A subtitutor might be the same as the settlor, and this person is able to exchange assets in the trust for cash. A loan director can give loans to the trust’s settlor.
In addition to new roles, there are also many new concepts associated with trusts that make them for flexible. For example, decanting makes it possible to pour the assets of an existing trust into a new one.
Given all of these new concepts, people who have already established trusts as well as people who are new to estate planning may want to discuss their options with an attorney. For someone who set up a trust 10 years ago, there may be some better ways now to manage assets. Whether or not estate plans include trusts, it is important to review them every few years. Even if laws have not changes, there tend to be family changes or changes in assets that necessitate updating the estate plan, and the assistance of an estate planning attorney can be important in this regard.