Florida Bypass Trusts: Maximizing Your Estate

Florida Bypass Trusts: Maximizing Your Estate

When it comes to estate planning, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Marital trusts, including Marital Disclaimer Trusts, serve essential roles in the preservation and distribution of your assets. Each type of trust caters to unique circumstances, providing flexibility and options for couples. 

One such trust is the Bypass Trust, which can be a valuable addition to your estate plan, depending on your specific situation. At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we can help you establish Bypass Trusts and navigate the complexities of Florida estate planning.

What is a Bypass Trust?

A Bypass Trust, also known as a Credit Shelter Trust, Family Trust, or “B” Trust, is an estate planning tool designed to minimize estate taxes while ensuring financial security for the surviving spouse. Its primary purpose is to shelter a portion of the deceased spouse’s assets from estate taxes, ensuring that more wealth passes to the intended heirs.

Why Use a Bypass Trust in Florida Estate Planning?

Florida’s estate tax laws have undergone significant changes over the years. While there is currently no state-level estate tax in Florida, the federal estate tax still applies to larger estates. This is where the Bypass Trust can be invaluable. By creating a Bypass Trust as part of your estate plan, you can take advantage of federal estate tax exemptions, preserving more of your assets for your family.

The Bypass Trust serves a dual role: It not only safeguards the deceased individual’s death tax credit but also provides protection for the assets against potential creditors and future spouses of the surviving spouse. Moreover, the Bypass Trust can be skillfully designed to guarantee that the assets ultimately pass to the deceased spouse’s children or family upon the surviving spouse’s demise, thereby preventing them from falling into the hands of any subsequent spouse of the surviving spouse.

Assets held in a Bypass Trust are also not subject to probate, which can be lengthy, costly, and open to the public.

How Bypass Trusts Work

Here’s a simplified example of how a Bypass Trust operates:

Imagine a married couple, Anne and Robert, with a combined estate valued at $12 million. Anne passes away, leaving her entire estate to Robert. Without a Bypass Trust, and absent a proper portability election on Anne’s estate tax return (Form 706), or if portability ceases to exist, their estate would be subject to federal estate taxes upon Robert’s passing, which could significantly reduce the inheritance for their heirs. Keep in mind that the estate tax exemption is set to decrease significantly to an inflation-adjusted projected figure of approximately $6.5 million per person at the end of 2025.  

However, Anne and Robert have a Bypass Trust in place. When Anne passes away, a portion of her assets, often equivalent to the federal estate tax exemption, is transferred into the Bypass Trust. Let’s say this amount is $6 million. The assets in the Bypass Trust are not considered part of Robert’s taxable estate, and hence, they are shielded from estate taxes. This strategic move potentially saves their family a significant amount in estate taxes, ensuring a more substantial inheritance for their heirs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Bypass Trust


  • Estate Tax Savings: A Bypass Trust can result in substantial savings on estate taxes, preserving more wealth for your heirs.
  • Flexibility: It offers flexibility in the decision-making process, allowing you to decide the portion of assets to shelter based on the current tax laws and your family’s financial circumstances.
  • Creditor Protection: Assets in the trust may be protected from creditors, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Control: The surviving spouse may be needed as the Trustee, ensuring wishes are honored.
  • Avoid Probate: Assets held within a BypassTrust can circumvent the time-consuming and expensive probate process. With the trust clearly outlining the asset distribution, there’s no necessity to depend on probate court proceedings.


  • Complexity: Bypass Trusts can be complex and may require professional guidance for effective implementation.
  • Loss of Control: Once assets are transferred into the trust, the surviving spouse may lose direct control over them (but this can be customized to your wishes).
  • Surviving Spouse’s Consent: The surviving spouse may need to consent to the funding of the trust (particularly if it’s a disclaimer type), which may not always align with their financial needs or goals.
  • Tax Considerations: Although Bypass Trusts are effective in reducing estate taxes, it’s important to be aware that their income might be susceptible to income taxes.

Consult with an Experienced Estate Planner on Bypass Trusts

The decision to incorporate a Bypass Trust into your estate plan should be made with a thorough understanding of your financial situation and objectives. To make an informed decision, it is essential to consult with experienced estate planning professionals who comprehend the nuances of Florida’s estate tax laws and can craft a tailored plan that aligns with your unique goals.

At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we specialize in crafting personalized estate plans that maximize wealth preservation and provide for your family’s future. Whether it’s establishing a Bypass Trust or exploring other estate planning strategies, we are here to guide you. Secure your family’s financial future and minimize the burden of estate taxes. Contact us today at 772-266-5108 or fill out our Contact Form. Your legacy deserves meticulous planning, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

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