When planning ahead for the future of your estate, trust administration and probate administration are not one and the same. There are some key differences between administering a trust estate and administering an estate inside probate.
The most important difference, for example, is that trust administration is private. For trust administration to begin, a notice letter should be sent to decedent’s beneficiaries and heirs informing them that the trust is being administered. Probate, however, is supervised by the court.
During probate, any of the documents related to the will become subject to public record. This means that details of the estate could be accessed by any member of the public who requests them. Probate will also apply if there is no will and the same rules of public record apply. In terms of trust administration, however, only the trustee and the heirs are able to see the details of the trust.
Another difference between these two processes is that the expenses are different. With probate, you need to submit a court filing fee and any fee associated with publicizing the estate in the newspaper. Any personal representative fees would also be covered under the overall value of the estate’s assets.
For trust administration, the trustee is still entitled to reasonably pay for his or her services, but there are no court filing fees. Unless there is a contest over the trust itself, there’s unlikely to be too many other costs associated with administration or dispute.
Depending on your individual goals, you might need both a trust and a will.
Do you have questions about using both a trust and a will for your estate planning in New Jersey? Our law office is still here working with clients actively and helping them determine their next steps. Schedule a consultation with our law firm today so that you can learn more about what to do next.