Ask a New Jersey Attorney About Probate
For many people in New Jersey, probate issues do not always make sense. In fact, many individuals may know little about what this entails. If you need help with these matters, experienced lawyers can focus on probate law. Not only can an attorney walk you through different processes, but they also help you gain a sound understanding of the law.
A general understanding of probate
Under New Jersey law, probate is a legal process where a court oversees the legal process following an individual’s death. This process may involve accessing the decedent’s assets, paying the individual’s debts and taxes, and transferring assets to beneficiaries. Probate courts will grant authority to someone, such as a surviving family member, to handle these important matters. For larger estates and more complex issues, probate will likely be necessary. However, it is not always required.
Does a person need to hire a lawyer?
The short answer is no; an individual does not need a lawyer in probate matters. A surviving family member can handle the duties of preparing and filing probate forms. But there are significant advantages to working with an attorney. Lawyers are well-versed in the process and understand the law. A qualified probate lawyer can help the person avoid common errors in the process. The lawyer will also stay on top of deadlines and pitfalls the client may encounter.
When can a person skip probate?
Probate courts are not necessary for some situations. An attorney can help the client be aware of these. For example, probate is not required if the assets are in a revocable living trust or if the decedent created a transfer-on-death deed. It is also unnecessary if there is a named beneficiary for life insurance proceeds or pension benefits. A client can skip probate if the person owned assets in a joint tenancy, which pass to the surviving owner.
What happens if a person dies without a will?
In New Jersey, the state probate courts will decide where assets go if an individual passes away without creating a will. Then, what is known as intestate succession laws will determine what happens to the assets. Spouses, registered domestic partners, and blood relatives will typically inherit any assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, and property. The surviving spouse is at the top of the succession, followed by children or grandchildren, parents, siblings, and grandparents. Aunts and uncles, as well as other extended family members, would come after other family members in succession laws.
Make sure you have a legal advocate on your side
Probate matters can be tricky, and these are certainly important to surviving family members. If you have a spouse or other family member who has died, consult a lawyer on what will happen to the assets the person left behind. Call a qualified probate attorney today. Then, you can feel good knowing the deceased person’s estate will be in the right hands.
Call us at (732) 449-0449 for more information from Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. or to schedule a consultation in our office in Sea Girt.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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