When Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone recently made headlines for purchasing a $35 million Palm Beach estate through a revocable trust, he wasn't just joining the growing celebrity migration to Florida's low-tax, low-crime paradise. The smart money is on Stallone's decision to buy his new home via a Florida trust – a powerful estate planning move that new and prospective Sunshine State residents should emulate.

Why Set Up a Florida Trust?

While trusts are a cornerstone of estate planning nationwide, properly establishing your trust under Florida’s specific laws and state constitution is crucial for new residents to fully capitalize on the state’s asset protection advantages:

1. Avoid the Probate Punch: By titling your Florida property in a valid Florida trust, you’ll bypass the public and expensive probate process, keeping your affairs private while saving your loved ones from court costs and delays.

2. Flex Your Homestead Muscle: Florida’s homestead laws provide unparalleled tax exemptions and creditor protections for your primary residence. But securing these benefits for any properties held in trust requires tailoring the trust to meet the state’s constitutional and statutory requirements. 

3. Champion Your Residency Rights: Should your former state attempt to challenge your Florida residency status for tax purposes, having a locally established trust, or updating your existing one to Florida, can serve as a powerful piece of evidence demonstrating that Florida is your permanent domicile. In fact, we know of several states that look at whether or not your trust and other estate planning documents are set up under your old state of residence or under Florida law, as either an official or unofficial factor in determining residency for tax purposes. So if you do get challenged, punch back by making sure you have a Florida trust.

The Estate Planning Advantages of Going Full Florida

Even if you’re a long-time Florida resident, keeping your trust aligned with evolving tax and trust laws can unlock a range of benefits:

1. Avoid Multi-State Probate Pileups: For those still owning property in other states, a rock-solid Florida trust allows your loved ones to skip the nightmare of multiple probate proceedings in multiple states.

2. Stay Out of the Public Ring: By design, trusts bypass probate, keeping your private affairs confidential and preventing unnecessary court costs or legal fees from diminishing the value of your estate.

3. Customize Your Wealth Protection Game Plan: Depending on your needs, a Florida trust can incorporate sophisticated provisions to minimize or avoid taxes and safeguard your assets from potential creditors, lawsuits, divorces, or other threats to your financial legacy for your children and grandchildren.

With careful planning and the guidance of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, a trust crafted under Florida law can be your ultimate wealth preservation tool.

Whether you're considering joining the migration to Florida, are in the process, or have been a resident for years, contact the trusted estate planners at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. We'll review your unique situation and develop a customized Florida trust strategy to protect what matters most to you. Call our Florida office at (941) 909-4644 or our Minnesota office at (763) 420-5087 today to schedule a consultation. Or you can fill out the contact form on this page and a member of our team will reach out to you to schedule.

If you would like to learn how to make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for your family to manage your affairs during incapacity and after passing, while ensuring your assets only go to whom you want and how you want, click here to register for our FREE online masterclass.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker
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