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RON With Trusts

Flat out, bottom line, – Blackburn Law Firm, PLLC does not recommend using RON for trusts.

Trusts are more complex than simple wills and usually benefit from a comprehensive consultation with a lawyer. They are not “finished” when the grantor, trustee(s), witnesses, and notary have executed the trust agreement. What makes trusts truly useful depends on “funding the trust.” This involves transferring appropriate assets to the trust and/or directing appropriate assets to the trust upon death. To find out more about trusts, CLICK HERE.

The new Florida law for electronic wills does not specifically address trusts. Nonetheless, a trust that disposes of the grantor’s property after death (“testamentary” provisions) has always been executed with the formality of a will. The definition of “will” in the new “electronic will” statutes, is consistent with this requirement. Therefore, you should expect that a revocable living trust must be executed and stored like an electronic will.

However, trusts are not exactly like wills. Wills control the testator’s property only after the testator’s death, and only under the supervision of a probate court. Trusts, on the other hand, control the grantor’s property both during life and after death, and require no supervision by a court. Trusts are not deposited in court and are not presented to a court unless someone challenges the trust. The reasons for having a qualified custodian keep custody of an electronic will do not apply to an electronic trust.

In my experience, institutions often demand to see the original trust before recognizing the trustee’s authority to manage the grantor’s property. If the only original trust agreement is held by a qualified custodian, the trustee will not have the original and cannot obtain it. The new electronic wills statute does not consider the differences between wills and trusts or explain how to handle them.

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