Estate Planning With a Revocable Living Trust NJ

Discover how a revocable living trust in NJ can enhance your estate planning with insights from the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC. Learn about the benefits, the creation process, and how we can assist you.

Why You Need a Revocable Living Trust in New Jersey

Life can be unpredictable and full of surprises. One day, a person is here, and the next, they are not leaving their loved ones in the lurch. Some people have also woken up to discover that their valuable assets and finances have been lost or are under threat due to the actions of third parties.

Even though no one hopes to encounter such issues, the realities of life demand that we anticipate and take proactive steps to prevent them or mitigate their harsh effects where possible.

That is the goal of estate planning. Estate planning allows you to organize and protect your assets during your lifetime or in cases of incapacity and provide for your loved ones after death. With the use of certain legal tools or a combination of them, you can leave specific legally enforceable instructions about your estate or create legal arrangements to secure your assets for your benefit and that of your heirs.

A revocable living trust is one of those important tools. This type of trust allows you to appoint someone else or yourself to handle specific assets or your entire estate and specify who inherits them after you die. Legal guidance is crucial when establishing a revocable living trust as it involves complex legal requirements and considerations.

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein LLC, we understand your concerns about your future and that of your loved ones. As experienced estate planning attorneys in New Jersey, we can help you navigate these complexities and ensure your revocable living trust works as it should.

In this guide, we explain how revocable trusts work under New Jersey law and some of the legal requirements you might need to meet to get started. Please read on to learn more.

What Is a Revocable Living Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement wherein a third party, or trustee, holds another’s assets on behalf of specific beneficiaries. The person who creates or funds the trust is called the settlor. They determine how the trust is structured and how the trust assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries. 

A revocable living trust is one of the most common types of trusts. As the name implies, it can be altered or completely revoked by the settlor during their lifetime without any input from the trustee or beneficiaries. This controlling feature is what differentiates a revocable trust from an irrevocable living trust.

Both trusts have their benefits. However, if maintaining control over your assets while alive is a primary concern, a revocable living trust might best serve your purpose.

Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust

In addition to the control a revocable living trust affords you, this type of trust also offers other benefits, including the following:

Avoidance of Probate: Probate is a legal process through which the validity and authenticity of a will is established by a probate court before a deceased’s assets are distributed in the manner specified in the will.

The probate process could be complex and time-consuming, especially with large estates, and could cause hardship to the deceased’s beneficiaries. A revocable living trust allows you to avoid probate for your loved ones and grants them expedited access to your estate after your death.

Privacy Protection: Once a will is admitted to probate, it becomes public and can be scrutinized by anyone. As such, a will might not be the appropriate tool if you wish to manage the distribution of your estate privately. A revocable living trust is more appropriate since trusts are private documents.

Planning for Incapacity: You can serve as the trustee of your revocable living trust. But if you appoint a successor trustee in the trust document, your successor trustee can step in to help the trust should you become incapacitated, ensuring you and your beneficiaries receive uninterrupted financial support in your difficult moments.

Regrettably, a revocable living trust cannot shield your assets from the federal estate tax, which may be due after your death. So, if your estate planning goals include estate tax avoidance, you may be unable to achieve them with this estate planning document.

In such cases, you may need to consult an estate planning attorney who can help you consider your options and set up a comprehensive estate plan (with the appropriate tools) that aligns with your goals. 

How to Create an Effective Revocable Living Trust in New Jersey

Establishing an effective revocable living trust involves:

Identifying and Meeting the Legal Requirements 

Revocable living trusts must meet certain legal requirements to be valid and effective. They include the following:

  • The settlor must be a mentally capable adult
  • The settlor must demonstrate their intention to create a trust
  • The trust must have a specific beneficiary or beneficiaries
  • The trustee must be assigned duties to perform
  • The same person must not be the sole trustee and sole beneficiary of the trust
  • The trust document must be signed by the settlor and may be notarized for an added layer of authenticity. 

You must consider these requirements and ensure that you can meet them before you create a revocable trust to avoid engaging in a futile exercise. 

Drafting the Trust Document

 The foundation of any trust is the trust document. This is where your specific instructions regarding your estate are detailed.

When drafting the trust, you must ensure that your wishes are expressed clearly, without any ambiguity, so there’s no confusion about your wishes or intentions, 

Funding the Trust

Funding the trust involves transferring assets to it. To achieve this, you’ll need to execute legal transfer documents in favor of the trust. Once that happens the trust is recognized as the legal owner of the assets, and the assets must be managed according to its terms.

However, because this is a revocable trust, you can change your mind anytime and revoke or terminate it. Legal ownership of the trust assets will revert to you upon revocation. 

How to Revoke or Modify Your Revocable Living Trust

A New Jersey revocable living trust can be modified or revoked in the following ways:

  • By following the method provided in the trust document (if any)
  • By executing a subsequent will or codicil that expressly mentions the revocable trust or specifically transfers the trust property
  • Any other writing that manifests the settlor’s intent to revoke or amend the trust.

Revoking or amending your trust abruptly could lead to new legal issues that could threaten your estate. So, it would be wise to consult a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney before taking any step. 

An estate planning lawyer can anticipate such complications and help you minimize or avoid them beforehand so your estate planning goals are not jeopardized.

How the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC Can Help

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein, LLC, we understand your concerns about your estate and the future of your beneficiaries. We also understand the intricacies of revocable trusts and estate planning. 

As you take the bold step to plan your estate, we stand ready to guide you throughout the process to ensure your assets are organized according to your specific wishes and in the most legally beneficial way.

 If you wish to incorporate a revocable living trust in your estate plan, we can help:

  • Determine if a revocable living trust suits your estate planning goals 
  • Create the trust document and ensure it meets the required legal standards
  • Amend the trust so it aligns with your current realities. 

We pride ourselves on our ability to provide effective estate planning solutions for our clients’ peace of mind. We’d love the opportunity to do the same for you.

Contact Us Today for Help With Your Revocable Living Trust and Estate Planning Needs

A revocable living trust is a valuable estate planning tool that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and facilitate the seamless transfer of your estate to your designated beneficiaries.

Many legal complexities are involved in creating such trusts, which is why legal guidance is necessary for effective trust creation and comprehensive estate planning.

Estate planning is a huge component of our reputable practice at the Law Offices of Wenarsky and Goldstein. We are deeply familiar with the estate planning laws and the laws governing the creation of estate planning tools such as revocable living trusts. This places us in a good position to help you determine the most appropriate estate planning strategy for you.

Contact us if you’d like our help with estate planning or have questions about wills, estates, trusts, and guardianships in New Jersey. Let us work together to help you achieve your estate planning goals.

Call the Law Office of Wenarsky & Goldstein

At the Law Offices of Wenarsky & Goldstein, LLC, our New York and New Jersey attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in bankruptcy, estate planning and probate, guardianship, special needs planning, and real estate law. To learn more about how we can assist you with your legal needs, call us today at 973-453-2838.