Wills and trusts are both essential estate planning tools. A living trust cannot address everything like naming a guardian for your minor children, so even in the event that you have identified that a living trust will help you, you’ll still need a will in addition. It’s a good idea to have a will, regardless of the size of your estate.
A will is always needed to address assets that are not transferred into the living trust prior to death. Living trusts can be helpful but they often must work in cooperation with a will. The primary reason to use a living trust is to avoid the probate process.
A will would have to go through probate but a living trust does not. In the state of New Jersey, probate is often seen as an inconvenience because there is a time delay and some costs associated with management before the assets can be distributed. This isn’t, however, so burdensome that a will should be avoided entirely.
If you have out of state property, a living trust may be the right tool to use in order to avoid ancillary probate which is a separate probate process entirely in the state where the property is located. Trusts can also be helpful for long term care planning situations and planning ahead for special needs.