Wills and Living Trusts can Work Together to Protect Your Assets and Beneficiaries

Why You Might Need Both a Will and Living Trust in New Jersey

Considerations to Determine If You Should Have a Will, a Living Trust, or Both in NJWhen it comes to planning for the distribution of your hard-earned assets after your death or incapacitation, there are numerous elements to consider. The following article explores whether both a living trust and a last will and testament may be needed in a New Jersey estate plan. An estate planning attorney at Bronzino Law Firm can serve as an invaluable addition to your process, as we are skilled in addressing legal issues and realities of developing a last will, trust, or other document that you may not know to consider. Based on your unique situation, our lawyers will help you develop the appropriate means of distributing your assets and solidifying your legacy for your loved ones. Contact us today at (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation.

Crucial Distinctions Between Wills and Living Trusts

A will and a living trust have several crucial differences. The primary difference is that a living trust does not go through the probate process, meaning that beneficiaries can immediately utilize their inheritance without having to first endure a lengthy and costly probate process. Also, a living trust is a private document, and its contents remain confidential throughout the course of its development and ultimate application. The probate process involving a will, on the other hand, goes into the public record, and as such the contents of a will are made available to all.

Additionally, a living trust can name a trust manager in the case that the grantor becomes incapacitated before death.  A will does not include any system for management of one’s assets until the testator dies; in this case, the court may appoint a guardian to attend to the individual’s affairs of estate. Finally, while most financial assets and real estate can go into both a living trust and a will, there are certain items that cannot go into a living trust. Retirement packages and life insurance policies, for example, cannot be included in a living trust.

Why is It Important to Have a Last Will in Addition to a Living Trust in NJ?

The Importance of Having a Will in Addition to a Living Trust in Toms River NJWhile there are many benefits to a living trust, there are some reasons to have a last will and testament in addition. As noted, a living trust does not cover all of a person’s assets. Important financial assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies are not eligible for inclusion in a living trust. In order to ensure that all of someone’s hard-earned assets are disseminated to loved ones of their choosing, they must include this beneficiary information in a will. In the absence of accounting for all assets, the court will determine who receives unnamed assets on the basis of the state’s intestacy laws. For this reason, a will and a living trust can work well alongside one another. In this way, the entirety of one’s estate is accounted for.

For assets not included in a legal document outlining inheritance, such as a living trust or a will, and for items ineligible for inclusion in a living trust that are not addressed in a will, New Jersey intestate succession laws apply. According to intestacy laws, these assets go to the closest relative. In New Jersey, this is children, or spouse in the case of no children, or parents in the case of neither children nor spouse, or closest relative in the case of none of the above. Unless you are ok with this legal line of succession, it is important you account for every single asset in a living trust and/or a will.

Determine the New Jersey Estate Planning Approach that Best Meets Your Needs with Help from Bronzino Law Firm

The potential consequences of not having a will in place, even with a living trust, are substantial: your hard-earned legacy may not make it into the hands of your loved ones. And even worse, it may make it into the hands of someone you don’t consider worthy of receiving the fruits of your lifetime or labors. A qualified and experienced estate planning attorney is your key to protecting your assets using all of the available legal outlets available. This ensures that your beneficiaries promptly and comprehensively receive the inheritance due to them. The estate lawyers at Bronzino Law Firm proudly assist clients in their diverse estate planning needs in communities such as Toms River, Stafford, Middletown, Sea Girt, Jackson, and many others in Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ. Contact our offices today at (732) 812-3102 for a free consultation to begin securing the future of your estate.