Wills vs. Trusts: What is the Best Option for Me?
A will is a legal document that designates a person as an executor (administrator) to effectuate the instructions of the person who made the will upon his or her death. With a revocable living trust, a person’s property is conveyed into that trust, and a person manages that property. That person designates himself or herself as the trust’s trustee for purposes of managing the property. A successor trustee is named for purposes of managing and distributing the trust’s property upon the trustee’s death. Both wills and revocable living trusts can be changed at any time.
According to the Denville NJ estate plan lawyers at The Law Offices of G. Martin Meyers, property in a revocable living trust isn’t required to go through probate. Therein lies the pivotal difference between a will and a revocable living trust.
Probate in New Jersey is a slow and costly process. Although an estate can be opened soon after a person’s death, there is still a claims period of nine months after the date of death to file claims against his or her estate. The estate’s executor must wait until such time as all claims against the estate are satisfied before he or she can distribute assets to those who take under a will. There is no requisite waiting period with a revocable living trust. Privacy might also be an issue. A will is filed with the probate court, and the whole world can see how a decedent’s estate is to be distributed. Revocable living trusts are private and not subject to public disclosure.
The best option for you between a will and a revocable living trust might depend on your individual circumstances. The Denville NJ estate plan lawyers at The Law Offices of G. Martin Meyers can advise you further. Talk with them before you decide.