What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust in New Jersey?

What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust in New Jersey?

Estate planning is an important undertaking at virtually any stage of your life, but it is not always a straightforward process. While you might have a clear idea of your beneficiaries and how to handle your estate, the legal world can often prove to be somewhat of an obstacle. Legal terms may be confusing, and it is not always clear how to take the right step forward. Perhaps you are not quite sure about the difference between a will and a trust.

In order to clear up issues like this, it is always a good idea to consult with a qualified legal expert. Not only can they explain the difference between a will and a trust in clear, concise terms, but they can also help you decide which option is best for you. With that said, there are a few basic things you can learn about wills and trusts in order to get a better sense of how to proceed.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust gives you control over the estate planning and inheritance process while you are still alive. With a living trust, you can begin the process of allowing your family to inherit your assets even before you pass away. Alternatively, you can simply name the people who you want to be your beneficiaries without actually transferring any of your assets until the time comes. In either situation, you will save your family from lengthy, expensive probate court proceedings after your death.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A will is a legal document that lays out your various wishes after you pass away. In most cases, wills only really deal with things like assets. On the other hand, wills can also lay out your wishes regarding your children. For example, you can state who you want the legal guardian of your child to be in your will. Without a will, you will die “intestate,” which means that the state of New Jersey will follow its own preset protocol when it comes to giving your assets to certain people in your family and appointing guardians for your children.

Benefit of a Living Trust

The main benefit of a trust is the fact that you can still use your assets and your money, even if you have named certain benefactors who will inherit these assets after your pass away. In addition, a living trust helps keep your affairs private. In many cases, the details of your will and your financial situation become available to the public after court proceedings. Even so, living trusts are probably more beneficial for people with high net worths.

Benefit of a Will

A will also has a number of benefits. If you have children, you will not be able to designate a guardian in a living trust, and a will is the only legal document in which you can make these preferences clear. In addition, a will allows you to name people who will inherit property even if it has not been named in your living trust. This is useful if you acquire a large amount of assets immediately before your death, and you do not have time to update your trust.

Getting Legal Help

Reach out to Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law today, and we will help you decide on the best course of action regarding your will or your trust. You will likely realize that the best choice is to have both a will and a trust to cover all your bases.



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