Can I Cut My Spouse out of My Will in New Jersey?
What is an Augmented Estate in New Jersey?
According to the New Jersey code “The ‘augmented estate’ means the estate reduced by funeral and administration expenses, and enforceable claims, to which is added the value of property transferred by the decedent at any time during marriage, or during a domestic partnership, to or for the benefit of any person other than the surviving spouse or domestic partner, to the extent that the decedent did not…..”
Are your eyes rolling back in your head at this time? Trying to read the New Jersey code can but most people to sleep.
What does a New Jersey Elective look like in Use?
Pretend Mike a stoke broker has $10,000,00 in assets that will pass under his Will. The beneficiaries under his Will are only his children. His spouse Betty’s elective share amount is one-third of that amount, $3,333,333. However, Betty was a real estate broker and has $5,000,000 worth of property and cash independent of Mike. The elective share would be considered satisfied and Betty would not be entitled to anything under Mike’s Will. Similarly, if Mike designated Betty as the beneficiary of a $5,000,000 life insurance policy, the elective share would be considered satisfied since the value of what Betty received outside of the Will exceeded her elective share amount.
What if I am a the Spouse of Someone Who Died and His Will was Made before He We were Married?
Are you in this situation? Did your spouse make a will before you married and made no provision for you as a future spouse, and then your spouse passed away? You as the surviving spouse are entitled to an “Intestate Share” of your spouse’s estate. Intestate is a fancy way of saying someone died without a will. New Jersey law handles how a person’s estate is distributed when they do not have a will. This law can be complicated as it takes into account for children, and children from prior or post relationships and if the spouse has parents that are still alive. So the intestate share could possibly include the entire estate no matter what the will says. If you find your self in this situation call us at 973-200-1111 to go over your options.
Lazaro Cardenas, Esq. is a New Jersey State Licensed attorney, focusing on Probate and Real Estate who has helped many people with settle the estates of their loved ones.