Revocable trusts: How New Jersey residents can avoid scams

Many in New Jersey may be interested in drafting a revocable trust as a way of avoiding probate. While these trusts are popular and provide a lot of flexibility, anyone interested in drafting one must take care to avoid scams. Trusts that are not drafted or funded properly can end up costing more than just money.

Revocable trust scams can take the form of seminars, home visits or workshops in which salespeople will aggressively try to sell the trust. They often exaggerate the benefits of drafting one and the costs of not having one. Trust kits are sometimes available online or through these salespeople. None of these methods are reliable ways of establishing a revocable trust, and they can end up being costly and invalid.

In general, a reliable trust is a document drafted by an attorney. The trust maker signs the document, which may also require the signature of a notary. The document lists the property to be inherited, the person who inherits and the name of the trustee. Typically, the person drafting the trust is the trustee until he or she dies. Any titled property listed in the trust needs to be re-titled in the trust's name.

While the process of drafting a revocable trust is relatively simple, it still needs to be done correctly in order to avoid probate. Once this trust is established, the trust maker can make changes to it at any time until he or she dies. Because trusts can be such important estate planning tools, it may be beneficial for individuals in New Jersey who are considering one to seek both legal and financial advice in order to ensure that their wishes are fulfilled.

Source:, "The Power of Trusts," Dennis Holmstrom, July 9, 2013

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