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can you trust a Trust?

November 15, 2010 - Lisa Goehle

Our parents wanting to make life as simple as possible for my brother and me when they passed away had a Trust prepared years ago. My father passed in 2006 and my mother passed away just a few weeks ago. Having never dealt with a Trust my brother and I went to a local attorney who is also a friend.

What we were told is that a Trust does not keep you from having to process certain papers with the Lee County Court System. In fact a filing of the death certificate and of the Trust is needed.

Trusts are a benefit and certainly can make life easier upon the death of a loved one. Many individuals believe once a Trust is prepared all is complete and no further action is required. I have learned this is not necessarily true and anyone who has a Trust should contact an attorney to verify that their Trust is (1) valid in Florida and (2) what addition action is required by the Trustees.

I would advise you not to call the person who prepared the Trust (unless they are your attorney) as you were probably told by them that you did not need anything else. Companies that do nothing but Trusts are in the business to sell you a Trust.

If you are unable to afford an attorney you can call the Lee County Clerk of the Courts and they can’t give legal advice but can provide you with the requirements of the courts. You can also contact Florida Rural Legal Services at 239-334-4554 for information.

If you haven’t prepared a Trust but a thinking of doing one, remember not everyone needs a Trust. Trusts can be very expensive and if your circumstances do not require a Trust you could be spending money unnecessarily.

Whenever you are dealing with legal documents it is always advisable to have an attorney or legal service provide you with information, what is good for your neighbor may not be good for you.


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