Every so often we receive an inquiry about living trusts, also known as revocable trusts. Living trusts have been heavily marketed in the recent past, and some myths are still circulating about them.
One myth is that everyone needs a living trust to avoid probate, which is the court-supervised process of settling an estate. It’s true that wills must be probated, and living trusts need not be. But in New Jersey, the cost of probate is relatively low, and the court does not have to be involved at every step. In addition, while New Jersey probate records are open to the public, those records do not necessarily have to include details of assets and liabilities.
Another myth is that living trusts, but not wills, may help minimize estate and inheritance taxes. The truth is that either a living trust or a will may contain similar tax-saving provisions.
Still another myth is that a living trust is required to plan for the possibility of future incapacitation. In many cases, it may be sufficient to have a durable power of attorney (POA). One major advantage of a durable POA compared to a living trust is that a POA does not require re-titling of assets.
We recommend living trusts where circumstances warrant, chiefly for those who own certain types of assets outside New Jersey. But for most New Jersey residents, a living trust simply is not necessary.
Contact the Estate Planning Lawyers at The Legato Law Firm Today
As always, there are ifs, ands, and buts too complicated to summarize in this blog post. Contact us online, or call our office at 908-725-9800 to see if you qualify for a free initial consultation. We offer evening and weekend consultations by appointment, and accept all major credit cards. We will also travel to your home to meet with you, if necessary.