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New Jersey Probate Law FAQs
Probate law is an essential aspect of estate planning. When someone with a will and probate assets passes away, those assets go through probate court. Then, the estate is transferred to the beneficiaries. Also, when someone dies without a will, the estate must go through the court. Get details on probate law, so everything goes smoothly.
New Jersey Probate Law Questions and Answers
The county Surrogate Court handles probate cases in New Jersey. The court validates the will if there is one. The estate’s executor then assembles the assets, pays taxes/bills, and finally distributes the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Find out what assets go through probate, learn about the simplified probate process, and what happens if the deceased did not name an executor.
What Are Probate and Non-Probate Assets?
Probate assets must go through probate court before the beneficiaries receive them. Probate assets are generally those assets that are only in the deceased person’s name. For example, real estate where the deceased is the sole owner must go through probate. The same is true for stocks and other assets that the deceased solely owned.
Non-probate assets do not need to go through the probate court. Beneficiaries receive these assets immediately. Non-probate assets include items that have designated beneficiaries, such as life insurance, pension, and annuities. These assets also consist of jointly owned assets, including jointly owned bank accounts and jointly owned real estate.
What Is A Simplified Probate?
The state of New Jersey uses simplified probate procedures for estates without much valuable property. These procedures can also help when there is not a will in place. Estates must meet conditions to go through simplified probate. If the conditions are met, the probate process is faster.
To qualify for a simplified probate, the estate’s assets cannot exceed $20,000 in value. If a spouse survives the deceased, the husband or wife must be entitled to the entire estate. In cases where the deceased was not married, the remaining family members have the right to designate a single heir to get the assets. The heir must file an affidavit to receive the assets.
What If The Deceased Did Not Name an Executor?
If the deceased did not name an executor, the Surrogate could grant letters of administration to an heir. This gives the heir the right to administer the estate during probate. The surviving spouse is the first option. If the spouse declines or if the deceased was not married, the letters of administration can be granted to the deceased’s remaining heirs. If one or more of the heirs does not wish to act as administrator, administration rights can be granted to a fit person.
Get Help With Estate Planning
Your heirs will navigate probate smoothly with the right estate planning. Estate planning helps your heirs avoid probate in some cases. In other cases, it makes the process faster and easier. Consult with an attorney to learn more about estate planning.
Call (732) 449-0449 to schedule a consultation with Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. in our Sea Girt office.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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