A trust is legal in every state, including New Jersey. In all states, to set up a family trust, you must prepare a trust agreement, an instrument used to name the parties involved, identify the assets placed in the trust, and set the powers and limitations of the trust. Blank templates are available at office supply stores and at online legal documents suppliers. Unless you want to hire an attorney or titling company, you do not need to involve a professional in the creation of a family trust.
Prepare a trust agreement. Name yourself as the owner of the trust. Designate the beneficiaries of the trust. Appoint a trustee to manage the trust after your death. For example, appoint a professional trustee such as a bank trust department or trust institution.
Have the trust agreement notarized by a notary public (fees apply).
Make the trust revocable. A revocable trust can be revoked or amended once created. If you do not want the power to amend, add to or revoke your trust agreement, make the trust irrevocable.
Hire a qualified appraiser to set value upon real property. Contact a local association for a list of public and private appraisers in your area.
Transfer private property without title documents to the trust using an assignment form. Sell private property with title documents using an "Agreement for Sale and Purchase" form. You may forgive the debt from the purchase over time using a "Deed of Acknowledgment of Debt."
Record the trust agreement if the trust holds title on real property. New Jersey law requires you to record the sale of real estate property, including property that is sold to or transferred over to a family trust, at the county clerk’s or county recorder’s office. This step is necessary only if the trust holds title on real estate.
Keep trust documents in a trust portfolio. Store the portfolio in a fire-proof safe or other secure location.
- NoLo: Living Trust Guide
- The College of New Jersey: Revocable Living Trust
- Estate Planning Links: What Is a Living Trust?
- Nolo Online Legal Forms: Online Living Trust FAQ
- Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 5227: Split-Interest Trust Information Return," Pages 1-2. Accessed July 24, 2020.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.