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Revocable Living Trust NJ

Revocable Living Trust NJ

At Klenk Law, we know that you have come to the right place if you are looking for a lawyer to help with a revocable living trust NJ residents can rely on.  What happens to your things at death? Estate planning is something that many people avoid doing until much later on in their life. It is not easy to consider the future and make the necessary plans regarding your assets and how they will be protected and passed on to your loved ones after your passing. Thinking about the future can be a complex topic. When you are evaluating essential issues such as your future healthcare, the security of your assets, and the wellbeing of your family, you need to make a lot of crucial choices.  Considering the options is important. The sooner you arrive at an answer, the better. A trust is just one way you can protect your assets. When you create a trust, you want someone you can rely on to hold your assets and property in their care. Thus, you can become the trustor (or grantor) when you create the trust, assign someone else to be the trustee, and assign certain property or assets to the trustee to be held for another person’s benefit. To learn more about the benefits of a trust and if it is right for you to establish one, schedule a consultation with an esteemed lawyer who specializes in estate planning.

Understanding Revocable Trusts in New Jersey

One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that it is reserved for people with high income or many valuable assets. Trusts are not reserved for wealthy people. Instead, it is an estate planning tool that allows you to protect assets, save money, save time, and more. People of various income backgrounds can benefit from setting up a trust. There are several different types of trusts that you can choose to establish. A revocable trust gives you the ability to make changes, or amendments, at any time, including the power to entirely revoke it. The trust generally includes at least three parties: the grantor, the trustee, and any named beneficiaries. The trustee will typically have many responsibilities but is most often required to manage all properties and assets contained within the trust. For more information about how a trust works and assistance with deciding which one is the most fitting for your case, talk to an experienced lawyer who has helped clients with their estate planning goals. 

The Difference Between an Irrevocable and Revocable Trust

There are various details between a revocable and irrevocable living trust, with the primary one regarding the changes you can make to the document. For example, you will be able to revise, modify, or terminate a revocable trust. A revocable trust is not permanent once established, so you can do so at different times if you would like to alter it.  This allows you to react after life changes. In contrast, an irrevocable trust will not be able to be changed easily, if at all. 

Ultimately, when you create a revocable living trust in New Jersey, you create a document that can be changed or destroyed while you are still alive. As the trustor, you are the person who has the right to make changes or terminate the revocable living trust; thus, when you pass away, it will become irrevocable.  

Can a Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate?

Yes, and this is a common reason that many people choose to create revocable living trusts. The probate process can take a long time and bring many inconveniences. Not only will it be fairly simple to execute changes during your lifetime with the help of your revocable living trust attorney, but it will save your beneficiaries and family members headaches and lengthy court processes once you have passed. 

If I Have a Revocable Living Trust, Should I Also Create a Will?

Our trust attorneys at Klenk Law believe that a revocable living trust and a will can both serve unique purposes and be beneficial to you and your loved ones. For example, if you have minor children and wish to name a guardian to take care of them in the event of your passing, a revocable living trust is not the right place to do this. On the other hand, a will is precisely the document where you would name a guardian. 

If you have any more questions regarding a Revocable Living Trust NJ, please contact Klenk Law’s reliable attorneys now. 

Benefits of Revocable Living Trusts

If you decide to establish a revocable living trust in NJ, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Avoid Probate: Probate is a legal process that proves a will valid.  In New Jersey,  the process is straightforward. However, the process in certain circumstances can be lengthy and costly. If you create a revocable living trust, your loved ones may be able to avoid probate altogether. This may be especially beneficial if you own property in more than one state because they can avoid multiple probate proceedings. Your family members will also have instant access to your bank account, so they can easily pay for funeral costs and other essential expenses.
  • Maintain Privacy: If you are a private person, you have another reason to consider establishing a revocable living trust. Wills have to go through probate, which is a public proceeding. Anyone can go to the courthouse and see the contents of your will. They can find out who received what assets and other private information. If you have a revocable living trust, your personal information will stay confidential.
  • Save Money: A revocable living trust in NJ is a more complex legal document than a will, initially costing more money to establish. However, a living trust may help your estate save more money in the long run. A living trust is likely to hold up better than a will if someone decides to challenge the estate, so your estate will have more money.  Feel free to contact us to discuss which option fits your needs best.
  • Assist in the Event of Incapacitation: If you become mentally or physically incapacitated, you will be happy to have a revocable living trust. The person you select as your successor trustee will be able to manage your financial and legal affairs without the court getting involved. After all, you don’t want a stranger making important decisions on your behalf. The person you appoint as your trustee should be honest, financially savvy, fair, and organized.
  • Provide a Peace of Mind: As long as a skilled estate planning lawyer establishes it, a revocable living trust provides a clear plan for dealing with your assets. Your heirs won’t be left in the dark about anything. This can help you avoid accidentally disinheriting someone or providing care for a family member with special needs. You can have peace of mind knowing that everything will be handled as you want after you are gone.

When you are wondering what is the best option to protect your assets and outline your wishes, a revocable living trust NJ law offers might be an ideal solution. It may be the most sensible option for your particular estate planning needs. At Klenk Law, we help men, women, and couples understand their estate planning options available. There are many approaches you can choose when it comes to estate planning, and there may be suitable options that you may not have been aware of before. Our team will take the time to explain each of your options in-depth so you can build the plan that best serves your estate planning goals. Through guidance and knowledge, we give them the ability to make a sound decision that supports their needs and interests both now and in the future. To explore your options for estate planning, call Klenk Law today. 

Why Should I Consider a Revocable Living Trust?

Revocable living trusts in NJ have many advantages for you, as well as your beneficiaries. First and foremost, it is essential to understand that when you create this type of estate planning document, selected assets (or all of them) are transferred into a trust account. When you die, these assets are not in your name; therefore, probate will be unnecessary for any of those assets. This makes the transfer of assets to your beneficiaries much more efficient and hassle-free. Your named beneficiaries will receive the assets as outlined in the trust. Avoiding probate is a significant benefit to this trust, as well as:

  • Avoiding the need for guardianship should you become incapacitated
  • Your estate matters remain private after your passing
  • Ensuring a smooth transition of your assets
  • Potentially less legal/court costs during the distribution of your estate

Choosing a Trustee

You will be required to name a trustee. This individual will possess real responsibilities; thus, it is essential to choose wisely. These tasks can be moderately simple to complex. A trustee will be given control of your assets, and they are responsible for managing all of the assets in a trust. They are also responsible for filing taxes associated with the trust and handling any legal issues or tasks that concern the trust. As a trustee, they are responsible for ensuring that the trust is dealt with appropriately according to the owner’s wishes. As a lawyer would tell you, it is crucial to choose someone you can feel confident in for this role. Examples of trustees might be spouses, close family members, friends, financial institutions, or lawyers. 

Will You Retain Any Control Over a Trust? 

Some people delay setting up a revocable trust because of fears of losing control of their assets. As a grantor of this kind of trust, you retain complete control. You get to choose who your trustee will be and control what is placed in your trust. You will be able to make changes as you see fit. If you need to update your revocable trust, for example, you can do so. Should you still have reservations, we encourage you to reach out to our firm to explore a revocable living trust in NJ. 

Today, it’s become more common for families to wish to keep their estate-related affairs more private. If probate is involved, the process will be public. This means anyone can access the will and selected contents of the estate. A trust is private. It safeguards your assets from probate, and no one will be able to know who gets what. To learn more about our NJ revocable living trust lawyer, call Klenk Law

Common Myths About Revocable Living Trusts

If you are thinking about creating a revocable living trust in NJ, it is important to know all the facts. Understanding the basics of how revocable living trusts work can help save you time and avoid costly and critical mistakes. There is a lot of misinformation about trusts that can make it hard to make an informed decision. Here are some common myths you should not believe about revocable living trusts:

  • A Revocable Living Trust Protects Your Assets from Lawsuits: Some people who establish revocable living trusts assume that they do not have to worry about lawsuits. However, this isn’t true at all. Just because you created a revocable living trust doesn’t mean that creditors can’t come after your assets. If you owe them money after you die, they can sue for your assets.
  • A Revocable Living Trust Is Only for the Wealthy: Another common myth about a revocable living trust is that you must be a multi-millionaire to have one. If you have any assets at all, you can benefit from having a living trust. In fact, many people underestimate their net worth. If you own a home, have a life insurance policy, or retirement account, for example, it may be worth it to establish a living trust.
  • A Revocable Living Trust Reduces Tax Liability: While it would be nice if a revocable living trust reduced estate taxes, it is not the case. The truth is that these trusts are subject to the same estate taxes if they weren’t in a trust.
  • Once You Create a Revocable Living Trust, You Don’t Have to Worry About Probate: Simply establishing a revocable living trust in NJ is not enough to avoid the probate process. If your goal is to skip probate, you must fund your trust. This is when you transfer your property into the trust’s name as the new owner.
  • If You Have a Revocable Living Trust, You Don’t Need Other Estate Planning Tools: A revocable living trust is an excellent estate planning tool. However, it is not the only tool you need. A sufficient estate plan should also include a will, power of attorney, and advance medical directives.
  • You Must Give Up Control of Your Assets: Some people may be reluctant to establish a revocable living trust in NJ because they assume they will have to give up control of your assets. This is not true. Although the trust will be the legal owner of your assets, you don’t have to give up any control of your property. You are allowed to change the terms whenever you want.

Five Assets You Shouldn’t Put in a Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a legal vehicle to safeguard your assets and provide for their easy disbursement to beneficiaries upon your incapacity or death. Here are five assets you should never put inside a revocable living trust in NJ.

1. Life Insurance

If you have life insurance, the best thing to do is to name its beneficiaries using the policy itself. Putting life insurance inside a revocable trust, or naming the trust as your beneficiary only complicates matters. It also doesn’t shield any life insurance payouts from your creditors. Klenek Law can help you sort out how to shield your assets, including your life insurance money.

2. Qualified Retirement Accounts

You could choose to retitle your retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs and qualified annuities, to the name of your trust. However, that would trigger income taxes to become due on the entire amount in the same year you retitled those accounts. To use your trust to disburse your retirement accounts, name it as the beneficiary of those accounts. Klenek Law can aid you in structuring your trust to give the funds to the people you want to have the money.

3. Health Savings Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts

Health savings accounts (HSAs) and medical savings accounts (MSAs) are custodial accounts or trusts you can use to pay for medical expenses. These expenses could include medical bills, prescriptions, dental work, vision care or mental health needs. If you put your HSA or MSA inside your revocable living trust in NJ, you could wind up needing to pay taxes on the funds in those accounts. You can’t retitle the HSA or MSA accounts in the name of  your trust. If you feel like you have to have the funds there, you can name the trust as the beneficiary of the accounts.

4. Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicles can certainly be retitled into the name of your trust. That includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, boats and airplanes. However, in several states, this is viewed as a transfer of title, and would require payment of title transfer fees and taxes. Klenek Law can advise you of the laws in New Jersey.

5. Uniform Transfers or Uniform Gifts to Minors

Uniform Transfers to Minor Accounts (UTMAs) and Uniform Gifts to Minor Accounts (UGMAs) are accounts established to benefit minor children. The minor child is the legal owner of these accounts, so it would be inappropriate for you to try and put them in your revocable living trust in NJ. If your child has a UTMA or UGMA, make sure you name a successor custodian in your will.

5 Steps for a Successful Revocable Living Trust in New Jersey

Make Certain a Revocable Living Trust Is Your Best Option

While a revocable living trust is the ideal estate planning tool for many New Jersey residents, other options may prove a better fit. Before rushing into a cut-rate revocable living trust in NJ, discuss your options with an estate planning attorney.

Prepare Your Trust Document With Care

Ambiguities in a trust document can hamstring your trustee and scuttle the plans you made for your hard-earned assets. A law firm with proven experience in trust documents, such as Klenk Law, can reduce these risks.

Select a Trustee

A trustee carries out your wishes when you die or become incapacitated. This person or institution will assume control of your assets, so this decision demands the utmost care. Depending on your holdings and goals, possible trustees include:

  • A family member with sound financial knowledge
  • A lawyer
  • A financial institution trust department

Whether you choose a family member or a professional, you will need to arrange compensation for your trustee. Your attorney can spell out your best option and include this provision in the trust document.

Retitle Your Assets

With your trust established as a legal entity, your next mission is to transfer your assets as swiftly as possible. With bank and brokerage accounts, this is a three-step process:

  1. Open a new account in your trust’s name.
  2. Move your assets to the new trust account.
  3. Close your now-empty individual account.

Your new trust accounts will continue to report against your Social Security number. Assets in an individual retirement account must remain outside of your trust.

Avoiding probate with your real estate holdings is a compelling advantage for a revocable living trust. Moving real estate into your trust is a painstaking process, and a proven estate planning firm like Klenk Law can streamline this task.

Keep Your Estate Plan Up to Date

Establishing and funding the trust is not the endpoint for your estate plan. Many of life’s twists and turns defy prediction, and that’s where the virtues of a revocable living trust in NJ shine. With a revocable trust, you retain the freedom to fine-tune the document with amendments or even revoke the trust and start from scratch. This reality makes touching base with your estate planning attorney every few years a savvy move. With any amendment to your living trust, ensure that your trustee understands the changes and remains able to carry out your instructions.

 4 Reasons To Choose A Revocable Living Trust

1. Have Flexibility

A trust is an important document that very specifically designates your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after you have passed away. This can be particularly beneficial if you anticipate discord among family members surrounding who gets what from your estate. You can design a revocable or irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust allows you to make changes to any element of the document at any time. Although an irrevocable trust offers more protections from taxes and creditors, you may decide that a revocable living trust in NJ is more appropriate for your situation. A lawyer at Klenek Law can help you to assess your assets and determine which type of trust is best for your situation.

2. Avoid Probate

Probate is a process in which a court assesses the validity of a person’s will after death. A will can be contested if a family member feels that they deserve more of your assets than you indicated. A revocable living trust in NJ does not have to undergo this process. Rather, your property and finances pass directly to whomever you indicated and cannot be contested. A living trust protects your heirs from incurring expensive fees that are incurred during the judicial process.

3. Designate a Trustee

When you create a trust, you name a person other than yourself who will ensure that your intentions are followed. A trustee is a person that you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or deceased. Klenek Law can help you decide who would make a good trustee of your revocable living trust in NJ based on the contents of your trust. For example, if the primary function of your trust is to provide financial support to the person who takes custody of your children when you are unable to, a trustee can help to oversee the distribution of those funds to the guardian in order to ensure that they are being used properly. 

4. Separate Assets

A trust can serve the function of dividing the assets of a married couple. This is particularly relevant when there are children from a previous relationship who require financial care in the event of a parent’s death. For example, a couple who married later in life may have each built up substantial financial and property holdings. Based on the needs of each of their families, including providing for children they do not share, it may be beneficial for them to separate their assets within a trust so that the wife’s properties can go exclusively to her family members and the husband’s properties to his. 

Why You May Need a Will and a Trust

When it comes to your estate plan, you may hear a lot of conflicting information. Some may say that a will is enough, whereas others may tell you to set up a trust instead of a will. In some cases, a trust is more beneficial than a will, but not in all instances. Sometimes, you may need both a will and a trust. Every case is unique, and what you decide to choose depends on the number of assets you have, the type of assets, your needs, and preferences. It is recommended that you speak with a skilled revocable trust lawyer who can advise you on the matter and narrow down your choices. They can explain the advantages of both. Here is what you need to know about both.

Reasons to Establish a Trust

If you have a trust, you essentially change ownership of different assets. This can be your home, money, or other property. You can choose yourself as a trustee or pick someone else to manage the estate. If you die or become incapacitated, the trustee would take over and manage your affairs. They can do this without going through any court processes.

When you have a trust, your family can avoid probate. Some estates, however, are small enough to avoid probate. One of the most significant benefits of having a trust is that you do not have to worry about your estate becoming a matter of public record. When you have a will, the process is public.

Reasons to Have a Will

You can have a will and a trust at the same time. You should use a trust for significant assets, but you can use a will for more minor collectibles or objects. For example, if you have heirlooms or a china collection, you may want to use a will. Wills can also be used to list your wishes for the future or after you die. For example, if you have funeral wishes or have young children who may need a guardian, you need a will.

When you have a will, you can be more specific about your wishes. If something happens to you and you have young children, you need to input what happens.

If you’re working on an estate plan, you do not necessarily have to choose between a trust and a will. Trusts are not always better than wills. In fact, many people may need both to protect their assets adequately. If you aren’t sure which vehicle to use for your estate plan, consult our revocable living trust lawyers, call Klenk Law. We will guide you through setting up a trust or drafting a will for your estate plan. In addition, we will ensure you use the proper estate planning vehicle.

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