Like many areas of the law, filing a notice of trust is one of those things that most people don’t know a thing about until it becomes of importance to them. As estate planning attornies here in Florida, however, we here at Weidner Law frequently assist those people when it does become of importance. Today we’re going to help you too by walking you through what you need to know about trust filing.
Filing a Notice of Trust: Answering Your Questions
A Quick Recap
Let’s begin with a quick recap of trusts.
A trust is a way to hold and direct assets for a beneficiary who is not able to hold or direct those assets themselves. This is often done in the case of a minor child or in the case of someone with special needs.
The assets that are put in the trust are managed by someone referred to as a trustee. It is the trustee’s job to oversee and safeguard the assets in that trust and direct them in accordance with stipulations outlined by the trust documents. The assets in a trust are at no time considered the property of the trustee.
There are various types of trusts, each serving a specific purpose. These trusts include:
- Revocable trust
- Irrevocable trust
- Asset protection trust
- Charitable trust
- Constructive trust
- Special needs trust
- Spendthrift trust
- Tax by-pass trust
- Totten trust
You can learn more about these different types of trusts in our post on Estate Planning Trusts.
What is a Notice of Trust?
A notice of trust is a document that must be filed after someone’s passing. This document must be filed in the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived at the time of their death.
A notice of trust in Florida must include the following information:
- The name of the settlor
- The settlor’s date of death
- The title of the trust (if there is one)
- The date of the trust
- The name and address of the trustee
A notice of trust will NEVER include any of the private details set out in the trust. For example, the notice will never include the value of the assets that are contained in the trust. Beneficiaries of a trust will also never be revealed in the notice of trust. This “secrecy” is what draws many into establishing a trust as part of their estate plan.
When Should a Notice of Trust Be Filed?
A notice should be filed when the person who created the trust dies.
In the case of a revocable trust, a notice need only be filed when the criteria outlined by state law is met. You can find this criteria here: Revocable Trust Notice of Trust.
Unlike a notice to creditors which must be published in the newspaper, a notice of trust does not need to be filed anywhere except for the probate court in the county where the deceased lived at the time of their death.
Who Should File the Notice?
The notice should be filed by the trustee of the trust. That is, the person overseeing the trust, not the person benefitting from the trust.
Creditors and Trusts
Many people are concerned about a creditor’s ability to pursue a trust. A creditor may pursue a trust for debt coverage, however, most do not simply because there is no information available on the contents of a trust. This means that it’s rarely worth the time and money spent on litigation for creditors to pursue trusts unless they have knowledge about the trust contents.
You should know, however, that creditors can make a claim against a trust for up to two years after the deceased person passed away.
Assets of the Trust
In order for assets to be covered by a trust, those assets MUST be titled in the name of the trust or they should be set up to transfer to the ownership of the trust upon your death. It is advisable, however, never to put your vehicle in the same trust as your other assets because it can cause complications – for example, opening up other items in the trust fr liability of the estate.
What If I’m Not Sure Whether I Should File a Notice of Trust?
If, after reading the information above, you are still unsure as to whether or not you should file a notice of trust, it’s best to consult an estate planning attorney to help with the job. Your attorney will not only be able to help review the need for a notice of trust, but they can also help you to carry out your duties if you are a trustee or executor of the estate.
Do You Have Questions About Filing a Trust?
If you have questions about filing a trust, we encourage you to make use of the live chat feature in the bottom right corner of the Weidner Law website (it looks like a blue speech bubble) and ask away!