Many New Jersey residents find it advantageous to make use of one or more trusts when setting up their estate plans. There are many different types of trusts, all of which have various benefits. In the case of a living trust, individuals are able to place chosen assets into the trust while they are still alive, and can also participate in the management of that trust. For many, the ability to see their trust in action is a big advantage, and makes the estate planning process much easier to accomplish.
For example, an individual who creates a living trust can put the family home within that trust. In addition, investment property and other types of investments can be included. Beneficiaries are named, as well as the person who will be expected to act as a trustee. This will be the individual who will manage the trust, pay any required taxes and make decisions concerning the maintenance of property held within the trust. If the creator of the trust wishes to manage it on their own, a successor trustee will be named, and that person will take over the trust once the creator dies.
Having a living trust in place also allows one's heirs to bypass the probate process. This can make is far easier for assets to be distributed, and can also lessen the timeframe between one's death and the distribution of those assets. Avoiding probate also results in the elimination of expenses associated with the process, including legal fees and paperwork costs.
A living trust is just one of the estate planning tools available to New Jersey residents. In order to make the best possible choices in planning one's estate, it is helpful to understand all of the available options. For those who are considering beginning this process, a consultation with an attorney who focuses on estate planning services can be a great place to start.
Source: TIME, "Why This Estate Planning Tool Beats Just Having a Will", Kerri Anne Renzulli, Oct. 6, 2014