When a person dies in New Jersey, and they have a will, their estate enters Probate Court. Probate is a concern for many estate planners. Planners seek to avoid it for a variety of reasons, including the fees and the lack of privacy it affords.
Thankfully, New Jersey residents have a variety of ways to avoid probate court.
A revocable trust is an effective way to avoid probate. All assets transferred into the trust are no longer considered part of the trustor’s estate and are therefore not subject to probate.
It should be noted that trusts have their own costs and are not suitable for every situation.
A person’s house is normally the most valuable thing they own and comprises a considerable portion of their estate. This being said, an effective way to keep your house out of your estate (and thus out of probate) is making your spouse a joint owner.
A joint owner has what’s known as the right of survivorship, which means they simply receive full ownership of the house when their spouse dies.
Payable on death bank accounts
When a person creates a payable on death account (POD), they retain full control of the account for the duration of their life. When they die, full ownership of the account is transferred to a designated person, keeping the account’s assets out of probate.
When it comes to avoiding probate court, or any other estate planning strategy, it’s necessary to seek the help of an experienced trusts and estates lawyer.
A lawyer can determine if a strategy is aligned with your interests while identifying risks a regular person may never contemplate.
New Jersey residents shouldn’t hesitate to reach out. If cost is a concern, many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out-of-pocket cost to the client.