Los Angeles, CA asked in Estate Planning for New Jersey

Q: IN NJ - if a trust was drawn up and not filed in the court, is it still valid, or is it null and void?

A trust was drawn up 1 month prior to the person's passing. Two sons were named as trustees. Document was signed. Stepson went to attorney who prepared the trust and said he never filed it in court so it was not any good. Stepson is now executor

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2 Lawyer Answers

Matthew Frank Medaglia

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Staten Island, NY
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Typically the trust doesn't have to be filed in court. The 2 sons who are named trustees will have control over the property in the trust. The executor will have control of the property that goes through probate.

Kenneth V Zichi

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Howell, MI

A: I think the issue was not 'filed with the court' but rather 'not funded'. If there is nothing IN the trust, then it doesn't do anything. Was there a pour-over will done at the same time? You need to consult with an attorney who will actually explain things in a way you can understand to know what to do next! If there is nothing in the trust, and there is no pour-over will, then indeed the trust will do nothing.

If there IS a pour-over will then you need BOTH Probate and Trust administration to finalize things.

This situation highlights why everyone doesn't necessarily "need" a trust. Seek competent local representation to minimize whatever hassles there may be here!

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

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