What is the Probate Process in New Jersey?

Nov 25, 2018 | Probate

New Jersey Probate ensures the deceased’s assets are properly distributed to the deceased’s heirs.

Probate is the process by which the government ensures the deceased’s assets are properly distributed to their heirs. It is also a process by which the government ensures that any taxes or liens owed to the state are fully paid. After someone dies, you need to get the authority from the county surrogates court to serve as the executor or administrator for the decedent’s estate in order to start the probate process.

The process can be quick and painless, as in the case where you are the only living relative of the decedent and it is non-contentious. In this case, the process can be relatively short and assets can be released sooner. However, when the estates are larger, poorly organized, complex, the will is missing, or other people contest the validity of the will, the probate process can be lengthy, painful and can take years. In a situation like this naming the beneficiary as the executor makes sense.

  1. Read about how the NJ Probate Process Works.
  2. Read more about naming an executor in a will.
  3. Read what a New Jersey Executor is responsible for in the NJ Probate Process.

Having someone who you can trust to go over and counsel you in all elder law and estate planning matters is critical to minimizing conflict and undue delays in the probate process. Lazaro Cardenas offers legal and personal guidance through the NJ probate process.  For an initial free phone consultation, call Lazaro Cardenas a New Jersey Probate Attorney from the Law Firm of Patel, Soltis & Cardenas at (973) 200-1111. We offer a Flat Fee for Probate for helping executors on most cases.

If you want to receive a guide to the NJ probate process we have or probate checklist, feel free to reach out. Or download our NJ Probate Cheatsheet. 

However, if you have questions or if you are facing difficulties like being:

  • Worried about the surrogates court, or are you unsure what a surrogates court is, or when you need to use the Superior Court;
  • Don’t know what a county surrogate is or why he is elected;
  • Unsure what death taxes are or inheritance tax;
  •  Not sure what form or forms are required or what can you skip to become an administrator of a will or what type of application you need to make, or what boxes to check on the forms;
  • Need to be appointed as the executor or administrator by the surrogate’s office;
  • Looking to plan for your business in case you die so your family is taken care of?
  • Need to know what happens with the deceased’s digital assets like facebook, twitter account, Instagram, and other social online content when they die?
  • Unsure what to do with the decedent’s copyrights that she owned, media, copy on directories, or other IP?
  • Afraid of how to notify the public, creditors about unpaid expenses, and family members?
  • In need of help talking to the county surrogates office, or can’t make it to the surrogate’s office hours we are here to help.
  • Do you need to know how to get insurance proceeds, how t request a check, or when the distribution of assets occurs or how to handle stock certificates and bonds owned by the deceased?

There are lots of moving pieces when trying to have a will probated.  Knowing what order you need to go about the probate process of the will is key. There are certain steps that need to happen and knowing what happens next, and what should be done next are key.

Getting a certificate of death. How many copies of the death certificate are needed?  Trying to get into the safety deposit box at the bank? Getting letters testamentary to be appointed as the administrator of the estate. Understanding your duties as the executor. Who do you have to give notice about the death of the decedent? Keeping track of financial and accounts related to the estate Paying the creditors of the decedent(s). Tracking fees you have paid. How to keep records. What services are you going to be reimbursed for if you pay out of your own pocket?

Understanding when you can safely make distributions to beneficiaries.  What is required? Filing federal and state taxes for both the decedent and the estate. What is the amount of fees you get to collect for administering an estate? For the probate process in NJ do you need to know if it is a small estate or large estate? What happens if a judge in a superior court requests you to be joined as an executor for an estate? What if the children object? Who handles the mail? What about Veterans benefits for the family? Can anyone from the community be an administrator if they just walk in off the street? (Believe it or not we get this question or a variation about 2 times a month. And the answer is no.)

There are lots of issues that arise for a person administering an estate in New Jersey. You can search high and low, but please stop and ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.  We will not make you pay to ask questions. We are a safe place out of the public’s eye to help you find the help you need.  We offer legal and personal guidance through the New Jersey probate process.  For an initial free phone consultation, call Lazaro Cardenas a New Jersey Probate Attorney from the Law Firm of Patel, Soltis & Cardenas at (973) 200-1111.



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