Trust Lawyer Bergen County NJ
If you are hoping to prepare an estate plan so that your assets go to the right people or organizations after you pass away, it would be highly beneficial for you to get a trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ. Creating a living trust can give you the opportunity to pass on what is important to you to those you love. While there are many ways that a person may be able to create a trust on their own or with a self-service for creating a trust, you will likely be able to get the most out of it if you are working directly with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning.
Learning About a Trust
If you want to create a trust, one of the first steps will be deciding if you want a single or a joint trust. If you are married, you probably want a joint trust so that you and your spouse can put your assets and property into one trust. However, it is possible to still have a separate trust if you are married. Next, you will want to:
- Gather property information. A trust is only as good as the information in it. If you do not take the time to know what kind of property you have, you will not be protected well. Your Bergen County, New Jersey trust lawyer will be able to help you gather all the information necessary for your property.
- Determine a trustee. When you create your trust, you will need to establish a trustee. You can also name someone as a successor trustee. Many people choose to name themselves as a trustee and have one or more people identified as successor trustees when they pass away. You want to make sure this is someone you can fully rely on to take care of managing your estate.
- Transfer property. Once you have created your trust, you will need to transfer your property into your trust. This can become complicated and it will be to your benefit to work with a lawyer during this time so that you do not make any errors or leave anything out.
Don’t Hesitate to Secure Your Future
When you are doing something as important as creating a trust, you want to make sure you do not miss anything and that you have gone through every step. If you would like to learn more about creating a trust, contact Kaplan Law Practice, LLC to speak with a trust lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Common Mistakes to Avoid with Trusts
Establishing a trust can have come with many benefits, from protecting your privacy to minimizing estate taxes. However, if you make certain mistakes, your trust might not do what you had hoped it would. Here are a few common mistakes you need to avoid:
- Failing to fund the trust. Your trust won’t do anyone much good if it isn’t properly funded. Even if you establish a proper trust with clear instructions, it can’t do anything without assets. The assets that aren’t in your trust will have to go through probate. Therefore, you should fund your trust as soon as possible.
- Going the DIY route. There are many DIY software programs to create trusts. While this might sound like an attractive option initially, you may want to think twice. Trusts contain complicated legal terminology that the average person doesn’t understand. If you don’t completely understand something in the form, you could make several mistakes and waste money. If you hire an experienced trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, from the beginning, you can have a well-prepared trust.
- Forgetting to update your trust. Too many people establish their trust and forget about it. However, it’s necessary for most people to update their trusts multiple times throughout their life. When you go through a major life change, like the birth of a child or divorce, you should review your trust and make the proper changes.
- Selecting the wrong successor trustee. The successor trustee is responsible for distributing the assets from your trusts to the right beneficiaries. This is a big job, so you shouldn’t choose just anyone to do it. The person should be trustworthy, organized, communicative and fair. If you don’t think anyone in your family is qualified to do the job, you can always hire a corporate trustee.
- Using the wrong wording. If you want your trust to carry out your wishes, you have to be careful with the type of wording you choose. If you use words like “request” or “hope,” for example, the trust might not hold up in court. It’s important to ask your lawyer what language to use to avoid complications later on.
- Failing to read your trust. After your lawyer has drafted your trust, you should take the time to read through it to ensure it says what you want it to. If you don’t understand something in the document, ask your lawyer about it.
Why You Should Consider Starting a Trust
Your Final Wishes Will Be Honored
When you work with a trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, your final wishes are more secure than if you simply write a will. A trust protects your assets, and your wishes, against legal action. Therefore, those who are unhappy with how you wish to distribute your assets do not have legal standing to dispute your trust and distribution.
However, a trust is not totally invulnerable to legal disputes. For example, if you were mentally incapacitated when you set up the trust and didn’t understand all the aspects of your trust, then an heir may have legal standing. In addition, if you were under duress or undue influence, your trust can be contested. However, this process is still more difficult than if you had a simple will.
One of the most significant benefits of a trust is that any family disputes that may result from the division of your assets are avoided. Your attorney can help you tailor your trust to your specific situation or to your heirs’ situations. Each beneficiary will receive a specified amount or assets. You can also designate special items for the individuals who will appreciate them the most.
Little to No Probate
The probate process can be long and complicated, and every day your heirs could lose money in legal fees. If you only have a will, a judge must determine whether it is valid. In addition, if you have assets not listed in your will, the probate process helps determine who they go to. This process can last up to two years.
Law firms that specialize in trusts, such as the Kaplan Law Practice, can help you create a trust that doesn’t have to go through any probate process. Instead, your descendants receive their assets and property quickly and without probate fees, which can be as much as five percent of your total estate.
You Maintain Your Privacy
Because trusts do not go through the probate process, you and your heirs maintain your privacy. Your assets and their distribution never become part of a public record. However, you will have to speak with your trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ to determine if you have to register a trust that contains securities or real estate. To avoid this registration, you can secure your assets in a partnership rather than a trustee.
Build a Charitable Trust
If you have a passion for specific charities, you can designate that some of your assets go to those charities after your death. For example, your trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, e.g., those found at the Kaplan Law Practice, may donate real estate, money, art or other assets to these organizations.
Steps For Building a Trust
Seek Legal Counsel
Unless you have a background in law, you might not be aware of all the rules and regulations in place for trusts. You should contact a trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ or use an online service to start building your trust. However, if you do feel comfortable with the material, you’re legally allowed to open a trust on your own.
Build Your Official Documents
When you’re ready to create your trust, you’ll start by building a trust document. This will clearly outline your grantor, properties and assets, beneficiaries who can receive these assets, the trustee overseeing the trust and any successor trustees to step in if your original trustee is unavailable. It’s also a good idea to create a certificate of trust, which is a document that proves the validity of your trust and the people involved in it.
Sign and Notarize Your Documents
You need to sign your trust documents in order for them to be legally binding, and your signature should be accompanied by two uninvolved witnesses. While not all states require these documents to be notarized, doing so can further prove the trust’s validity and help prevent fraud. Talk to your trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ to learn more
Create a Trust Bank Account
Next, you should set up a bank account for your trust. This account will fund your beneficiaries, and it’s best to start clean with a brand-new account. If you have an existing bank account you’d like to use, you may be able to register it to your trust depending on the institution you’re using.
Transfer Your Assets
After you’ve established and notarized your trust, you should transfer your assets into it. This means you’ll need to include property deeds, vehicle titles and certificates of authenticity or ownership for any other heirlooms or valuables. Be sure to update your trust documents to include any new properties you acquire.
Now that your trust is funded and includes all your assets, you can assign beneficiaries to receive them if you pass away. Assets of a trust are payable on death, which means your beneficiaries can receive them without probate. If you don’t know what probate is, Kaplan Law Practice or your local trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ can tell you more.
Five Types of Trusts You’ve Never Heard Of
If you think of your estate plan as a flower garden, there are a wide variety of seeds and bulbs you can plant to get the desired outcome you want come spring. You may have heard about trusts, and may be familiar with living trusts. Here are five varieties of trusts you probably haven’t heard of.
Totten trusts, also known as a poor man’s trust, is a trust that contains in it financial vehicles such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and Certificates of Deposits (CDs). They’re a form of revocable trust, meaning they can be changed while the grantor is still alive. They typically contain language such as “In trust for” or “payable on death.” They’re a safe way to pass assets to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.
Tax Bypass Trusts
Tax bypass trusts are useful when one spouse dies before the other, and they want their assets going to their children with as little taxation as possible on the death of the second spouse. When those assets reach the children, they could be looking at heavy estate taxes of up to 55% if the trust weren’t there, depending on the size of the estate.
Charitable trusts are created to deliver funding to the charities of the grantor’s choosing upon her death. They’re often used to reduce the size of the grantor’s estate, limiting the potential gift and estate taxes that could otherwise be applied. Your trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, from Kaplan Law Practice can help you determine if this type of trust would work for you.
Spendthrift trusts limit the amount of money a beneficiary can receive at any given time. One common example is when an heir receives one payout on turning 25, another at 30, and a third at age 35. This prevents the beneficiary from spending the entire lump sum all at once. When you talk about estate planning with a Kaplan Law Practice trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, you may want to mention this type of trust if one of your heirs has a history as a spendthrift.
Special Needs Trusts
Special needs trusts are set up for the benefit of an heir who receives benefits from the government such as disability. They’re designed so they don’t impact the beneficiary’s eligibility for those government services. This type of trust has to be set up such that the beneficiary has no control over the trust; someone else must be the trustee. The purpose of special needs trusts is to let the disabled person live a richer, fuller life than she could otherwise afford on her disability benefits alone.
If at any point during the process you need help, don’t be afraid to seek legal counsel.
Contact Kaplan Law Practice, LLC today.