A trust is simply an alternate way to own assets. If you created a trust, you would be the Grantor of the trust. You would typically also be the Trustee of the trust. As the Trustee, you would manage the assets titled in the name of the trust according to the terms of the trust and applicable laws. You also would be the beneficiary of the trust as long as you are alive.
After you create a trust, your assets should be transferred to the trust. This process is called “funding.” This is done by retitling your assets in the name of the trust. Assets that are titled in the name of the trust would not have to go through probate after your death. Most asset retitling is done either in person with your financial institutions or by mail. You should discuss the funding process for your particular assets with your attorney.
Within the trust document, you would name beneficiaries to receive the assets of the trust after your death. These would be the beneficiaries that you would have named in your will. You would also name a successor Trustee to take over the trust in the event of your death, incapacity, or resignation. The successor Trustee is similar to a personal representative under a will. The successor Trustee will make sure that all of the debts and expenses are paid and is then responsible for distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries. This process takes place outside of Probate Court and usually results in lower attorney’s fees and quicker distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
A married couple can establish one revocable trust for both of them. Upon the death of the first spouse, the trust will continue for the benefit of the surviving spouse. The trust assets would not be distributed to the named beneficiaries until the death of the surviving spouse. The joint trust can be drafted to become irrevocable after the death of the first spouse, or allow the surviving spouse to amend the trust agreement for so long as he or she is living and has capacity to do so.
Factors to consider in deciding whether or not a trust would be a good estate planning tool for you include, but are not limited to, the nature and variety of your assets, your willingness and ability to undertake the steps necessary to fund your trust, your concern for privacy in the settlement of your affairs, your level of concern for cost-effective estate planning and the potential for disputes between beneficiaries. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss whether a trust is the right option for your unique circumstances.
He is also a part of the Condominium and Planned Development Committee, Twentieth Judicial Advisory Team for Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, Inc., Omicron Delta Kappa, and Florida Blue Key.
In the past, he was a member of the Executive Council of the General Practice Section of the Florida Bar and the Grievance Committee for Twentieth Judicial Circuit “C” where he served as Chairman from 1994 to 1996.
A strong advocate for local servant leadership, Wotitzky has a long history of community involvement, including:
- Peace River Basin Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (1997-1999)
- Boy Scouts of America , Southwest Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America
- Executive Council (1985-1990), District Chairman (1985- 1987)
- United Way of Charlotte County , President ( 1990-1991), Campaign Chairman (1988-1989), Admissions and Allocation Committee Chairman ( 1991-199 5)
- Charlotte County Charter Review Commission (1991-1992)
- American Red Cross, Charlotte County Chapter, Past Director and Vice President ( 1985-1989)
- Charlotte Local Education Foundation, Past Vice President and Member of Board of Trustees
- Charlotte Behavioral Healthcare, Board of Directors (2007- Present)
- Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors (2009-2010)