Many people in New Jersey may think about starting a trust or some other organization in order to avoid probate.
While probate does not have to be an especially draining or even costly process, there are good reasons to want to avoid it.
Aside from more complicated legal steps, there are some simpler estate planning techniques New Jersey residents can use to keep most if not all of their assets out of probate.
As a word of caution though, people should carefully consider drafting at least a simple will even if they have designed an estate plan that does not involve probate.
Survivorship can allow people to transfer real estate without probate
Like most other states, New Jersey allows people to hold real estate with the right of survivorship. When properly executed, a deed which conveys right of survivorship gives a co-owner the automatic right to inherit from the other owners of the land.
To give an example, if two people own a home, and one owner dies, then the other person, or survivor, owns 100% of the land without having to go through a probate process.
It is worth mentioning that bank accounts and certain other types of property may also include a right of survivorship.
New Jersey residents can use the right of survivorship to transfer their assets outside of probate.
Beneficiary accounts are also a relatively simple way to transfer assets
People should also remember that beneficiary accounts, like retirement plans and life insurance proceeds, are designed to pass to loved ones outside of probate. However, it is very important to correctly name a beneficiary and to keep that designation up to date. Otherwise, the funds wind up in probate or, worse, tied up in a legal controversy.