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Use a living trust to protect your assets and avoid probate

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Estate Administration

A living trust can be beneficial if you are planning your estate and want to avoid a lengthy probate process in New Jersey. When done correctly, a living trust can create a clear plan for protecting and distributing your assets.

Forming a living trust

If you choose to use a living trust, you’ll need to decide on the type of trust you want to form. If you’re married, you’ll likely use a joint trust. When you’re single, a single trust will be a good choice. Both options allow you to place your property into the trust.

Choose what you want to store in your trust

After deciding on the type of trust you want to form, you need to make a list of the property you wish to store in it. Typical items to place in your trust include the following:

  • Real estate
  • Financial accounts (bonds, stocks, annuities, CDs, savings and money market accounts)
  • Life insurance
  • Valuable personal property (jewelry, art, collectibles and furniture)
  • Mineral rights
  • Collectible vehicles
  • Your business (sole proprietorships, partnerships and LLCs)

Pick a trustee

You’ll also need to pick a trustee. They will be in charge of distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. You can pick someone else or name yourself as a trustee. However, if you name yourself, you must choose a successor trustee to manage your trust if you die.

Final preparations

After deciding which beneficiaries will get your assets during the estate planning process, you can create the trust document, get it notarized and fund the trust. This final step transfers your property into the trust.

Using a living trust provides a clear plan on how your assets will be dealt with. Knowing you have it set up should provide peace of mind as your estate will be handled as you wish.