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Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Don’t Believe These Myths About Trusts

If you’ve ever talked to your financial advisor about estate planning, he or she has probably mentioned trusts. They are fiduciary arrangements that allow a trustee to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries, minimizing estate taxes and eliminating a need for probate. A trust also gives you complete control over your legacy as you can specify the terms precisely, even in complex situations.  They are incredibly useful tools but, unfortunately, many myths surround them.

Myth 1: If I’m not rich, I can’t use a trust.

When you think of trust funds, you may think about the multi-millionaires and billionaires who leave massive quantities of money to their children—who subsequently go on to become TV reality stars. However, you don’t need to live in Beverly Hills, own multiple properties, or fly in a private jet to set up a trust. You will need to pay a lawyer to draw up your estate planning documents—and pay some administration costs—but these upfront fees can actually save your estate money later on when your beneficiaries are able to avoid the expensive probate process.

Myth 2: A trust is too much work.

After you’ve set up a trust, you need to move assets into it. This involves transferring legal ownership from you to the trust. If this retitling of property is completed incorrectly, your beneficiaries may need to go through probate after all. It’s certainly somewhat complex, but that’s why you enlist the assistance of a lawyer and financial advisor. They can suggest simple methods—such as using payable-on-death or transfer-on-death designations—to make the transfer process easier.

Myth 3: If I’m not going to die anytime soon, I don’t need a trust.

Trusts exist for more than just the distribution of your assets after you’re gone. You can use a trust to protect your wealth even while you’re still living. For example, you can set up a trust that will provide for the management of your finances if you become seriously ill, mentally incapacitated or are otherwise unable to do so on your own.

Myth 4: I have a will so I don’t need a trust.

While preparing a last will and testament is better than doing nothing at all, a trust is usually a much better option. Wills require probate; trusts do not. This means wills are more expensive and difficult to administer. They are also a matter of public record, an issue if you value the privacy of your estate or want to bequeath varying amounts to your beneficiaries without risking resentments.

Trusts are a useful estate-planning tool and can be arranged in a variety of flexible ways. Whether you’re interested in a living/revocable trust—that allows you to retain control of the assets during your lifetime—or an irrevocable trust—that immediately transfers your assets out of your estate (and reduces the taxes your beneficiaries will pay in the process)—contact your financial advisor for more information today.