The Boca Raton Probate Lawyer
Main Office:
10161 Centurion Parkway, N., Suite 310
Jacksonville, Florida 32256
Phone:  (904) 448-1969, Toll Free (866) 510-9099
Email: Info@TheBocaRatonProbateLawyer.com
Florida Probate Lawyers and Attorneys

C. Randolph Coleman

Estate Planning and Asset Protection Attorney C. Randolph Coleman   See our profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn

C. Randolph Coleman, the Jacksonville, Florida law firm's founder, entered private law practice in Miami, Florida, in 1978 as a member of The Florida Bar. He moved his practice to Jacksonville, Florida in 1991.  The Florida law firm's practice is limited to Florida estate planning law, Florida elder law and Medicaid planning, special needs trust planning, financial and tax planning, business succession planning including choice of business entity, wealth preservation and asset protection planning, Florida guardianship, Florida probate law and trust administration, Florida probate litigation and trust litigation.

Mr. Coleman is a frequent lecturer and nationally recognized speaker in the areas of estate planning, financial planning, and asset protection. He is the co-author of, "Diminished Capacity and Financial Exploitation of the Elderly - The Florida Elder Law Attorney’s Perspective," Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, 28th Annual Meeting Continuing Legal Education Program, 2015; "Animal Trusts and Estate Planning," The Florida Bar, continuing legal education program, 2008;  "The New Florida Trust Code", published by Lorman Professional Seminars in 2008; "Pets and Pet Trusts," The Florida Bar, continuing legal education program, 2005;  "Asset Protection Techniques in Florida", published by the National Business Institute in 2004; the author of "Family Limited Partnerships in Florida" (Chapter entitled "Ethical Considerations", published by the National Business Institute in 2002; "Key Issues in Estate Planning and Probate in Florida" (Chapter entitled "Protecting the Passage of Wealth"), published by the National Business Institute in 1997, and "Advanced Estate Planning Techniques in Florida" (Chapter entitled "The Use of Family Limited Partnership in Estate Planning") published by the National Business Institute in 1995. 
Top Lawyers Jacksonville Florida for Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianship, Asset Protection, Small Business Law, Medicaid Planning
He is a member of
The Florida Bar (Real Property, Probate and Trust Section, Elder Law Section, Tax Section, Business Law Section, and Animal Law Committee), the American Bar Association, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the Florida Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Estate Planning Council of Northeast Florida, and the Planned Giving Council of Northeast Florida. Mr. Coleman is the former Director of Asset Protection Planning for The Florida Physicians Association (FPA) He also served as Chairman of the Planned Giving Committee for the Arthritis Foundation, Florida Chapter, Northeast Florida Region.

A graduate of the University of Florida (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in accounting, 1972) and the
University of Florida College of Law, with Honors, 1978, where Mr. Coleman was awarded the American Jurisprudence Awards for academic achievement in Corporations Law and Commercial Paper Law.  Mr. Coleman was a practicing CPA in Florida for six years prior to entering law practice.


Mr. Coleman and The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC, are "AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the peer review rating service for lawyers and are listed in the  Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers, which lists only those select lawyers and law firms who have earned the A-V® Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have therefore been designated by their colleagues as pre-eminent in their field.


Mr. Coleman also has received a 10.0 out of 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO.

                                   


The Revocable Trust in Florida

The revocable, or “living,” trust is often promoted as a means of avoiding probate.  The revocable trust has certain advantages over a traditional will, but there are many factors to consider before you decide if a revocable trust is best suited to your overall estate plan.

 
1. WHAT IS A REVOCABLE TRUST?

2. WHAT IS PROBATE?

3. ARE ALL ASSETS SUBJECT TO PROBATE?

4. HOW DOES A REVOCABLE TRUST AVOID PROBATE?

5. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ASSETS ARE PROPERLY TITLED TO MY REVOCABLE TRUST?

6. CAN THE TRUST HOLD TITLE TO MY HOMESTEAD?


7. DO I BENEFIT BY AVOIDING PROBATE?


8. HOW ARE CREDITORS SATISFIED?


9. DOES THE TRUST PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM CREDITOR CLAIMS?


10. DOES THE TRUST PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM THE ELECTIVE SHARE?


11. WHO PAYS FEDERAL INCOME TAX ON TRUST INCOME?


12. DOES A REVOCABLE TRUST SAVE ESTATE TAXES?

13. WHAT ARE THE TRUSTEE'S RESPONSIBILITIES?

14. WHO MAY ACT AS TRUSTEE OR SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE?

15. HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I NEED?


1.     WHAT IS A REVOCABLE TRUST? 

A revocab
le trust is a document (the “trust agreement”) created by you to manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute the remaining assets after your death. The person who creates a trust is called the “grantor” or “settlor.” The person responsible for the management of the trust assets is the “trustee.” You can serve as trustee, or you may appoint another person, bank or trust company to serve as your trustee. The trust is “revocable” since you may modify or terminate the trust during your lifetime, as long as you are not incapacitated.

During your lifetime the trustee invests and manages the trust property. Most trust agreements allow the grantor to withdraw money or assets from the trust at any time, and in any amount. If you become incapacitated, the trustee is authorized to continue to manage your trust assets, pay your bills, and make investment decisions. This may avoid the need for a court-appointed guardian of your property. This is one of the advantages of a revocable trust.

Upon your death, the trustee (or your successor if you were the initial trustee) is responsible for paying all claims and taxes, and then distributing the assets to your beneficiaries as described in the trust agreement. The trustee’s responsibilities at your death are discussed below.

Your assets, such as bank accounts, real estate and investments, must be formally transferred to the trust before your death to get the maximum benefit from the trust. This process is called “funding” the trust and requires changing the ownership of the assets to the trust. Assets that are not properly transferred to the trust may be subject to probate. However, certain assets should not be transferred to a trust because income tax problems may result. You should consult with your Florida estate planning attorney, tax advisor and investment advisor to determine if your assets are appropriate for trust ownership. (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

2.     WHAT IS PROBATE? 

Probate is the court-supervised administration of a decedent’s estate. It is a process created by state law to transfer assets from the decedent’s name to his or her beneficiaries. A personal representative is appointed to handle the estate administration. The probate process ensures that creditors, taxes and expenses are paid before distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries. The personal representative is accountable to the court as well as the estate beneficiaries for his or her actions during the administration. For probate estates having less than $75,000 of non-exempt assets, Florida probate law provides a simplified probate procedure, known as summary administration.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)



 3.     ARE ALL ASSETS SUBJECT TO PROBATE?

No, only assets owned by a decedent in his or her individual name require probate. Assets owned jointly as “tenants by the entirety” with a spouse, or “with rights of survivorship” with a spouse or any other person will pass to the surviving owner without probate. This is also true for assets with designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, annuities, and bank accounts and investments designated as “pay on death” or “in trust for” a named beneficiary. Assets held in trust will also avoid Florida probate.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 4.     HOW DOES A REVOCABLE TRUST AVOID PROBATE?

A revocable trust avoids probate by effecting the transfer of assets during your lifetime to the trustee. This avoids the need to use the probate process to make the transfer after your death. The trustee has immediate authority to manage the trust assets at your death; appointment by the probate court is not necessary.

The “funding” of a revocable trust is critical to successfully avoid probate. Those persons who do not fully fund their trusts often need both a probate administration for the non-trust assets as well as a trust administration to completely distribute the assets. Because the revocable trust may not completely avoid probate, a simple “pour over” will is needed to transfer any probate assets to the trust after death.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 5.     HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ASSETS ARE PROPERLY TITLED TO MY REVOCABLE TRUST?

The account statement, stock certificate, title or deed will make some reference to the trust or to you as trustee. You might also elect to fund your trust by naming the trust as a beneficiary of life insurance or other similar arrangements. Your estate planning attorney or real estate attorney and financial advisor may assist you with the transfer of assets to your trust. If your trust will own real estate then it is important to have the deed prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney or real estate attorney. The attorney will consider the impact of existing mortgages, title issues and homestead restrictions when the deed is prepared.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 6.     CAN THE TRUST HOLD TITLE TO MY HOMESTEAD?

In some situations your homestead property can be transferred to your trust. Most Florida counties have special requirements to maintain the homestead tax exemption and special language may be required in the trust agreement and the deed. Your Florida attorney can advise you on whether placing your homestead in your trust is appropriate, and if so, the requirements for a valid transfer.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)


 7.     DO I BENEFIT BY AVOIDING PROBATE?

Avoiding Florida probate may lower the cost of administering your estate and time delays associated with the probate process. However, many of the costs and time delays associated with probate, such as filing a federal estate tax return, will also be necessary with a revocable trust. The administration of a revocable trust after death is similar to a probate administration. The trustee must collect and value the trust assets, determine creditors and beneficiaries, pay taxes and expenses, and ultimately distribute the trust estate. A trustee is entitled to a fee for administration of the trust, as is the personal representative of an estate. To the extent professional services of attorneys, accountants and estate liquidators are used to complete the process, the savings may be marginal.

On the other hand, avoiding probate in multiple states is a definite benefit. Because of the nature of real estate, probate is usually required in every state in which you own real estate. This can usually be avoided by transferring ownership of the real estate to your trust during your lifetime.

If you need assistance from a Florida probate lawyer for a probate throughout the state of Florida, please call us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.

(To Top of Revocable Living Trust)


 8.     HOW ARE CREDITORS SATISFIED?

Florida’s trust law does not have a specific procedure for identifying and paying creditors at death. The creditors have up to 2 years from the decedent’s death to file claims against the probate estate. The trustee may be reluctant to distribute the trust assets to the beneficiaries until he or she is satisfied that all claims have been paid, and 2 years is a long time to wait. For this reason, some clients choose to open a probate estate in addition to the trust administration to take advantage of the probate claim process. The Florida probate law limits the time for creditors to file claims against the probate estate (generally 3 months from the date of notice), and also provides a process for objecting to claims.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 9.     DOES THE TRUST PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM CREDITOR CLAIMS?

In Florida, the trust assets are not protected from the claims of your creditors. During your lifetime the assets in a revocable trust are treated as owned by you, and subject to the claims of your creditor as if you owned them in your personal name. If the trust assets remain in trust after your death, the interests of the beneficiaries may be protected from their creditors by a “spendthrift” provision in the trust agreement. Florida law provides special protection for many types of exempt assets, including assets owned by a husband and wife as “tenants by the entirety.” Consideration should be given to these assets when you decide how to fund your revocable trust. Your Florida estate planning attorney can advise you on the types of assets that offer creditor protection and the effect of funding your trust with them.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 10.     DOES THE TRUST PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM THE ELECTIVE SHARE?

Florida probate law provides that a surviving spouse is entitled to a minimum portion of the decedent’s estate. This elective share is equal to 30% of the estate, including certain assets passing outside of probate. Generally, assets held in a revocable trust will be subject to the elective share. There are some exceptions to the elective share, and the right to receive an elective share can be waived by the spouse. You should consult with your Florida estate planning attorney or probate lawyer regarding the application of the elective share to your particular situation.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 11.     WHO PAYS FEDERAL INCOME TAX ON TRUST INCOME?

In most instances, the revocable trust is ignored for federal income tax purposes during the grantor’s lifetime. The income and deductions are reported directly on your individual income tax return. The trust will use your social security number as its tax identification number.

A revocable trust becomes a separate entity for federal income tax purposes when it becomes irrevocable, or stops reporting income under your social security number for any other reason. The trustee is then required to file an annual fiduciary income tax return. Taxable income, deductions and credits are determined in much the same way as for an individual. Trusts are also allowed a deduction for distributions to beneficiaries. In this way, the trust passes on income and deductions to the beneficiaries to be taxed on their personal income tax returns. Income that is not distributed to the beneficiaries is taxable to the trust.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 12.     DOES A REVOCABLE TRUST SAVE ESTATE TAXES?

Revocable trusts are often credited with saving estate taxes, but this is not entirely accurate. Your retained interest and power over the trust assets will cause the trust to be included in your taxable estate at death. The trust can be drafted to minimize the effect of estate taxes, but the same estate planning techniques are available to persons who choose to use a will as those who choose a revocable trust.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 13.     WHAT ARE THE TRUSTEE'S RESPONSIBILITIES?

Serving as trustee is no simple task. While very important, the prudent investment of trust assets is not a trustee’s only responsibility. Your trustee’s exact powers and duties will depend on the instructions in your trust agreement. But, in general, your trustee will: and saving taxes at death. 
    • Hold trust property
    • Invest the trust assets
    • Distribute trust income and/or principal to the beneficiaries, as directed in the trust agreement
    • Make tax decisions concerning the trust
    • Keep records of all trust transactions
    • Issue statements of account and tax reports to the trust beneficiaries
    • Answer any questions you and the beneficiaries may have concerning the trust.

Your trustee may have broad powers or very limited powers. In either case, your trustee is a fiduciary and must follow a strict standard of care when performing trust functions(To Top of Revocable Living Trust)

 14.     WHO MAY ACT AS TRUSTEE OR SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE?

The choice of a trustee is extremely important, and may have tax consequences. You can name almost anyone as your trustee. Unlike the appointment of a personal representative of a probate estate, a trustee does not have to live in Florida or be related to you. You can name yourself or any other individual (subject to tax considerations), or a corporate trustee, such as a bank or trust company. The individual trustee can be a family member, friend or professional advisor. Many individuals appoint family members or friends as successor trustee, to assume responsibility for the trust management and distribution after their death. When a family member or friend is chosen, consideration must be given to the person’s qualifications, the potential for friction with other beneficiaries, and the potential burden you are placing on that individual. The trust agreement should allow these individuals to hire qualified professionals to assist them in their duties, such as attorneys, accountants and financial advisors.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)


 15.     HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I NEED?

This information is intended to give you a basic understanding of revocable trusts, but it cannot substitute for a thorough review with your estate planning attorney. A revocable trust must be implemented as part of an overall estate plan. Ownership of assets must be coordinated between the individual and the trust. Decisions must be made as to what assets are appropriate to fund the trust, the transfers must then occur, and the asset allocation should be periodically reviewed. Tax considerations must be discussed with qualified professionals. The trust agreement should reflect your family, economic and tax goals. A revocable trust can help you accomplish these goals when properly prepared and implemented.  (To Top of Revocable Living Trust)


This material represents general legal information. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an estate planning attorney or probate lawyer about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

The Breast Cancer Site

Florida Counties and cities in which Boca Raton Florida estate planning, living trusts, guardianship, elder law, asset protection, Medicaid planning, and probate lawyers and attorneys offer Boca Raton Florida estate planning, living trusts, guardianship, elder law, asset protection, Medicaid planning and probate services:

Alachua County probate attorneys

 

Gainesville, Alachua, Hawthorne, High Springs, Waldo, Newberry, Micanopy

 

Bay

 

Panama City, Panama City, Beach, Lynn Haven, Youngstown

 

Baker

 

Macclenny, Glen Saint Mary

 

Bradford

 

Starke, Brooker, Hampton

 

Brevard County probate lawyers

 

Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Rockledge, Barefoot Bay, Indialantic, Malabar

 

Broward County probate attorneys

 

Ft. Lauderdale, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Hallendale, Plantation, Dania Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, Pembroke Park, Cooper City, Port Everglades, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches

 

Calhoun

 

Blountstown

 

Charlotte

 

Punta Gorda, Charlotte, Port Charlotte, Palm Island

 

Citrus

 

Crystal River, Homosassa Springs, Inverness

 

Clay County probate lawyers

 

Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights, Penny Farms

 

Collier County probate attorneys

 

Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Palm River Estates, Ochopee

 

Columbia

 

Lake City, Fort White

 

DeSoto

 

Arcadia, Brownville, Fort Ogden, Hull, Pine Level, Platt

 

Dixie

 

Cross City, Horseshoe Beach, Old Town

 

Duval County probate lawyers

 

Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach

 

Escambia

 

Pensacola

 

Flagler County probate attorneys

 

Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell, Beverly Beach, Marineland

 

Franklin

 

Apalachicola

 

Gadsden

 

Quincy, Chattahoochee

 

Gilchrest

 

Trenton

 

Glades

 

Moorehaven

 

Gulf

 

Port St. Joe, Wewahitchka

 

Hamilton

 

Jasper, White Springs

 

Hardee

 

Wauchula

 

Hendry

 

Clewiston, LaBelle

 

Hernando

 

Brooksville, Weeki Wachi

 

Highlands County probate attorneys

 

Avon Park, Sebring, Lake Placid, Leisure Lakes

 

Hillsborough County probate attorneys

 

Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, Apollo Beach, Brandon, Lutz, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Riverview, Dover, Thonotosassa, Ybor City

 

Holmes

 

Bonifay

 

Indian River probate attorneys

 

Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, Fellsmere, Sebastian

 

Jackson

 

Marianna

 

Jefferson

 

Monticello

 

Lafayette

 

Mayo

 

Lake

 

Altoona, Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Lady lake, Leesburg, Minneola, Mount Dora, Tavares, Umatilla

 

Lee County probate lawyers

 

Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Boca Grande, Estero, San Carlos Park, Lehigh Acres, Waterway Estates

 

Leon County probate attorneys

 

Tallahassee

 

Levy

 

Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Williston, Yankeetown

 

Liberty

 

Bristol

 

Madison

 

Madison

 

Manatee County probate attorneys

 

Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Palmetto, Myakka City

 

Marion County probate lawyers

 

Ocala, Leesburg, Belleview, Citra, Dunnellon, Salt Springs, Weirsdale

 

Martin County probate lawyers

 

Stuart, Sewall’s Point, Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, Jupiter Island, Ocean Breeze Park, Palm City

 

Miami-Dade County probate attorneys

 

Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Kendall, Homestead, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Miami Shores, Miami Lakes, Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Hialeah Gardens, Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, Surfside, Cutler Bay, Doral, Golden Beach, Indian Village, Islandia, Medley, Miami Gardens, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach, Sweetwater, Virginia Gardens, Florida City, Goulds, Biscayne Park

 

Monroe

 

Key West, Islamorada, Key Largo, Marathon, Big Pine Key, Key Colony Beach, Sugarloaf Key, Tavernier

 

Nassau County probate lawyers

 

Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Hilliard, Yulee, Callahan

 

Okaloosa

 

Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Cinco Bayou, Destin, Shalimar Valparaiso

 

Okeechobee

 

Okeechobee

 

Orange County probate lawyers

 

Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Apopka, Edgewood, Maitland, Ocoee, Windemere, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Zellwood

 

Osceola

 

Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration

 

Palm Beach County probate attorneys

 

Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Highland Beach, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, Ocean Ridge, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Pahokee, Tequesta, Riviera Beach, Loxahatchee, Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, Glen Ridge

 

Pasco

 

New Port Richey, Bayonet Point, Gulf Harbors, Dade City, Holiday, Hudson, Land O’Lakes, Odessa, St. Leo, Zephyrhills

 

Pinellas County probate attorneys

 

St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Treasure Island, Belleair, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Seminole, Indian Rocks Beach                  

 

Polk County probate lawyers

 

Lakeland, Auburndale. Bartow, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Frostproof, Polk City, Highland Park, Indian Lake Estates

 

Putnam

 

Palatka, Interlachen

 

Santa Rosa

 

Gulf Breeze, Milton

 

Sarasota County probate attorneys

 

Sarasota, Longboat Key, North Port, Venice

 

Seminole County probate lawyers

 

Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Springs

 

St. Johns County probate attorneys

 

St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Nocatee, Crescent City, Melrose, Pomona Park, Welaka

 

St. Lucie

 

Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie

 

Sumter

 

Wildwood, Bushnell, The Villages

 

Suwannee

 

Live Oak

 

Taylor

 

Perry, Steinhatchee

 

Union

 

Lake Butler

 

Volusia County probate lawyers 

 

Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Deland, Deltona, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange

 

Wakulla

 

 

 

Walton

 

DeFuniak Springs, Seaside

 

Washington

 

Chipley

 

 

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