You would do well to take every angle into consideration when you are putting your estate plan together. If you act in an informed manner, your heirs will receive their bequests shortly after you pass away. Conversely, if you do not take the right steps, a waiting game may ensue after you are gone
Estate Administration Process
You may be under the impression that the legal device called a last will is the simplest and most efficient estate planning tool. Trusts may seem like something that only rich people can benefit from.
In truth, when you use a last will to state your final wishes with regard to asset distributions, the heirs to the estate do not receive their inheritances in a timely manner. The executor or personal representative that you nominate in the document would be required to admit the will to probate.
Probate is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of the Surrogate’s Court in the state of New Jersey. The heirs to the estate must wait out this process before they can receive their inheritances.
Probate provides certain protections, but it does not run its course overnight. The precise time frame will vary depending on the situation, but generally speaking, a relatively straightforward case can be probated in just under a year.
The time consumption can be an inconvenience to some inheritors who are stable financially, but it can cause genuine hardships for family members who may may not be on firm footing financially.
If you are not thrilled about the time consumption that would enter the picture if you use a will, you may want to use a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. If you create a living trust, you maintain control of the assets while you are living, so don’t have to be concerned about a loss of control.
You can alter the terms of the trust at any time, you can take monetary distributions, and you can even dissolve or rescind the trust entirely.
After your passing, the trustee that you name in the trust declaration will follow your instructions with regard to the nature of the distributions to the beneficiaries. These distributions could take place in a timely manner, because the probate process would not be a factor.
Revocable living trusts can provide probate avoidance, but there are other ways that you can get assets into the hands of your loved ones outside of the probate process. The best course of action will vary on a case-by-case basis, so you may want to discuss your options with a licensed estate planning attorney.
If you would like to do so, contact us through this page to set up a consultation: Warren NJ Estate Planning Attorneys.