33-11 Broadway, Suite 2, Fair Lawn, New Jersey 07410

Bergen County Living Trusts Lawyer Helps Clients Avoid Probate 

Fair Lawn attorney employs creative solutions to estate planning

Depending on the size of a decedent’s estate, probate proceedings can be time-consuming and expensive for the estate beneficiaries. Fortunately, there are ways to transfer wealth while avoiding probate. One such method is a living trust, which allows beneficiaries to take ownership of assets quickly and without conflicts. At The Paton Law Firm, in Fair Lawn, I can advise whether a living trust is an appropriate estate planning tool for you and, if so, can help you set one up.

Setting up a living trust

A living trust is a legal entity that you set up during your lifetime, as opposed to a testamentary trust, which comes into being after your death. The living trust is funded with whatever property you choose to transfer to it. You can serve as the trustee during your lifetime and name a successor trustee to take over upon your death. 

The document that creates the trust describes its terms and conditions, which include the instructions for managing the trust and for distributing its assets to named beneficiaries. A capable trusts and estates attorney can draft the document so as to best protect your assets and carry out your intentions.

Once you’re satisfied with the terms of the trust document, you must sign it in front of a notary and then transfer the title to the relevant property from you to the trust. You and your attorney should review the trust from time to time to see if it should be revised to respond to changes in relevant circumstances.

What is included in a living trust?

If you decide to set up a living trust, you may transfer to it whatever cash, securities real estate or other property you wish. The more of your property is placed in the trust, the smaller the portion of your estate that is subject to probate. When funding the trust, you may want to include particular property that you want to make sure gets distributed to your heirs quickly. I can work with you to decide what property to include.

Reasons for setting up a living trust

Besides allowing your heirs to avoid the delays and expenses of probate proceeding, a living trust offers you flexibility in estate planning. If you create a revocable trust and name yourself as the trustee, you can still enjoy the benefits of your property during your lifetime while making provisions for your designated beneficiaries. 

What is a revocable trust?

A living trust can be revocable, which means you maintain the right to terminate it during your lifetime. In addition to that benefit, it allows you to maintain full control of your property until you die, especially if you name yourself as trustee, and you can freely add or remove property at any time. However, the property remains taxable to you and may be exposed to creditors collecting on your debts.

What is an irrevocable trust?

Most living trusts are revocable, but you can choose to create one that you cannot terminate or modify its terms. Another person or organization is appointed as the trustee. By relinquishing control over the trust property, you effectively shield it from attachment by creditors and from some tax liabilities. 

Contact a trusts and estates lawyer in New Jersey 

At The Paton Law Firm LLC in Fair Lawn, I assist northern New Jersey residents in creating and managing living trusts. To request a free initial consultation, call my office at 201-470-4801 or contact me online.


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