Probate is the court-supervised process for handling the estate of a loved one after death. For many families, this is a complicated and emotional process, but you do not have to face it alone. At Rozin | Golinder Law, we are proud advocates for our clients and work tirelessly to give them the support they need during this difficult time. With over 95 years of combined legal experience, you can entrust your case to our team and get the peace of mind you need.
Call our New Jersey Probate lawyers at (732) 810-0034.
The Probate Process
Not all estates go through probate. If all of the deceased's assets are jointly owned or a part of a trust, probate is probably unnecessary. Investments, joint tenancies, and life insurance policies are examples of non-probate assets. However, for those who own assets in their name alone, the court will assist the family with dividing the estate after death.
In general, probate begins with identifying the executor or administrator of the will. This person is named in the will as the designated manager of the deceased's affairs, including the will's execution. The executor must request formally request the position through the court within at least ten days after death.
Executors must supply the will and a death certificate to the court to begin the process. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator who acts on behalf of the court to designate property and break up the estate.
One of the most critical steps of the probate process is proving that the will is valid. A will may not be valid if it was coerced or the deceased was not in their right mind when they signed the document. For example, if an older adult with advanced cognitive deterioration creates and signs a will, other parties may question its validity during probate.
Assets, Debts, and Taxes
Executors have authority over all assets that go through probate, which means they manage the transfer of ownership or the item itself. The executor is responsible for passing assets to their assigned beneficiary. These assets may be monetary, investments, real estate, family heirlooms, or other valuables that the deceased left to a friend or loved one in their will.
Throughout this process, the executor must take meticulous notes to ensure that the estate is handled ethically and that all requests from the will are met. Debts and taxes must also be recorded in their records.
The executor is responsible for filing taxes and addressing financial concerns on behalf of the deceased and must uphold the will to the letter during probate. If the deceased has debts or taxes that remain after death, the executor must handle them first and pay the creditors. The executor may need to consult state law if there is insufficient money to satisfy the debts and cover funeral costs. Generally, passing assets onto beneficiaries comes after paying debts, and probate is complete.
Preparing for Probate in New Jersey
If you are the executor of a will or planning on creating an estate plan, Rozin | Golinder Law can help. We understand how complicated probate can be, so we offer support and compassionate care to our clients seeking assistance with the probate process. Our attorneys can evaluate your situation and provide honest, detailed advice to help you protect what matters most.
Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey probate attorneys and put your future in good hands. We are proud to serve clients in Middlesex County and the surrounding areas.