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Guide to Navigating the Probate Process in NJ

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Feb 7, 2021

Guide to Navigating the Probate Process in Its Entirety

What Happens If An Estate Goes Into Probate?

There are many confusing legal and financial matters that take place after the death of a loved one. Many people wonder what happens if an estate goes into probate?

Probate can be intimidating but understanding the process can help you execute your duties. Keep reading to learn how probate works in the state of New Jersey.

What Is Probate Estate Law? 

Probate is a legal process that is supervised by the court after someone passes away. The process gives the person who has been named the Executor by the deceased the authority to gather the deceased person’s assets, pay any remaining debts, and eventually pass those assets along to the people who will receive them.

When is probate required?  Do all estates go through probate? There isn’t a simple answer to these questions.

When it comes to probate in New Jersey it isn’t always required. Uncomplicated estates may be able to go through a more simplified process.

Probate Assets

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In New Jersey, probate court proceedings are not necessary if the deceased person owned the assets in his or her name alone. These “non-probate” assets can be transferred to heirs without probate. Common non-probate assets include:

  • Asset held in a revocable living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary
  • Pension benefits with a named beneficiary
  • IRAs or 401k plans with a named beneficiary

What Happens If An Estate Goes Into Probate?

Traditional probate in New Jersey is processed by the surrogate court of the county in which the deceased person lived.

The court will give the administrator authority to:

  • Pay debts and taxes
  • Have assets appraised
  • Collect and inventory the assets and protect them

New Jersey administrators are entitled to a commission for their service. They can receive:

  • 6% of income received from the estate
  • 5% of the gross estate value for estates that do not exceed $200,000.00
  • 3.5% on estates valued at $200,000.00 to $1 million
  • 2% on estates over $1 million.

The Probate Process

During the probate process, the Counties Surrogate will prove the authenticity of the original Will that was notarized. If the provisions of the Will indicate to be “self-proving” it will be authenticated as valid. If not “self-proving” additional testimony or proof will be required.

As the probate process can be difficult to navigate through, it is highly recommended for the Executor to retain the services of an experienced probate attorney.

Probate Is Time Sensitive and Can Be Complicated

What happens if an estate goes into probate? If a deceased person leaves behind a large estate, the steps that follow can be a challenging process. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through it alone.

For more information on navigating probate, contact Dalena & Bosch. We are here to guide you and help you through this difficult time.

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