Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts, which are sometimes referred to as revocable trust, living trusts or "RLTs", offer many benefits with the primary one being the ability to control your assets during your lifetime, and provide guidance during disability and in death. Of course, another main benefit is the ability to dissolve the trust if and when necessary. There are, of course, other advantages as well as some disadvantages that you should consider.

At Hartmann Law , we want you to make the best decisions about your assets and estate planning. During a free initial consultation, we will meet with you to understand your objectives, and determine what tools, including a revocable living trust may benefit you. Contact us to learn more about the opportunities trusts can offer you.

Understanding Revocable Trusts in New Jersey 

A revocable trust is a trust that allows the trustor (also called settlor, grantor or trustmaker) to change its terms, or even revoke it in full, while the trustor is alive. Once the trustor passes away, the trust becomes irrevocable and is distributed by a trustee according to its terms. It is a way for a person to manage and control their assets while they are living and have those assets controlled during their disability and pass to their loved ones when they die.  

The types of that can be transferred into a trust include but are not limited to:

  • Real property (e.g., homes, farms, vacation homes)
  • Deposit accounts
  • Investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, money market accounts)
  • Business interests
  • Collectables, art, antiques
  • Life insurance policies

Pros of New Jersey Revocable Trusts

There are distinct advantages to using a revocable trust as an estate planning tool, including:

Probate Avoidance

The ability to avoid probate is a popular reason people consider placing assets in a revocable trust. Probate is the process where a decedent's estate is administered through the court system. It can be a tedious and time-consuming procedure. Assets placed in a revocable trust typically do not have to go through this court-supervised process. 


While there are other types of trusts, the revocable trust remains a favored choice due to its flexibility. The creator of the trust is able to make changes to the trust up until the time of their death. 

Incapacity Protection

A trust provides protection in case of testator incapacity. In other words, if the person that creates the trust later becomes incapacitated (develops dementia, for example), a new or successor trustee can take over the management of the trust. They will be required to administer the trust according to its terms.


If maintaining privacy over your assets is important to you, a revocable trust is an option worth considering. Assets placed in the trust are administered to beneficiaries privately, unlike assets administered through the probate process, which is public.

Planning for Remarriage and Blended Families

Because the revocable trust will become irrevocable upon the truster's death, the revocable trust is a useful tool to address concerns relating to remarriage and assets passing to intended beneficiaries in blended families.  Putting the plan and instructions in place can avoid conflict later down the road, where a traditional will may not.

Cons of New Jersey Revocable Trusts

There are some disadvantages to revocable trusts, including:

Time and Money

Going through the process of setting up a revocable trust can take significantly more time and money than simply executing a Will. It requires that the trust be funded by changing deeds, titles, and other documents to transfer into the fund.  

Lack of Asset Protection

Some trust types shield assets from the reach of creditors and judgments. A revocable trust, however, does not provide this protection, and assets are still within the reach of creditors during the truster's life.  The asset protection is available to the beneficiaries named in the trust, however, if that is the truster's intent and language is incorporated into the trust to assure this objective. 

Terminating a Revocable Trust in New Jersey

The good news, and the reason most people choose to use a revocable trust, is that the trustor retains control of the assets in the trust, and is able to terminate the RLT if and when they choose to do so. The steps needed to take to terminate must be in accordance with State Law and also ay vary by the terms of the trust. 

Typically, you will need to execute a trust revocation document and “defund” the trust, which means removing the assets placed into it. This may involve re-issuing titles, deeds, and other documents out of the name of the trust. 

Contact a Revocable Trust Lawyer in New Jersey 

A revocable trust can offer many benefits. They can be used as a way to protect your assets and help family members or other individuals or organizations for which you care a lot. To find out if a revocable trust is right for you, and if so, which type of revocable trust best aligns with your interests, Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation today.   We will listen to what your wishes and concerns are and develop a customized Life and Legacy Plan for you that works for today with an eye on the future - by design and not by default.