Estate Administration Attorney in Union City, New Jersey
Losing a loved one is never easy, and if you carry the added burden of having to administer their estate, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by all the tasks in front of you. If you were listed as the executor or executrix in the will, or the Surrogate Court assigned you as the administrator or administratrix, you are now responsible for ensuring the estate goes through the proper legal channels. Depending on the size of the estate and how comprehensive the estate plan is, you may wish to work with an estate administration attorney.
At Hudson Law Firm, we’re committed to easing the strain of this difficult time, making sure you and your family can focus on your healing and not on legal proceedings. If you’re in the Union City, New Jersey area, or neighboring areas including Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, or North Bergen, call us today to schedule a consultation.
Probate in New Jersey
Even if the assets in the estate are protected in a trust or there is a joint owner, the estate will likely have to go through the process of probate. When a will goes through probate, it must be “proved” in the Surrogate Court, meaning it will be validated by a clerk or a Probate judge if challenged.
The Surrogate or judge will then give the executor the authority to distribute the assets after they have been inventoried, assessed, and all debts accounted for. If there is no named executor, the Surrogate or judge will assign someone (usually the surviving spouse or adult child of the deceased) as the estate administrator.
Some assets are considered “non-probate,” and these will not have to go through probate administration. If an asset was owned jointly with another person, if the deceased has already named a death benefit for a certain asset, or if the assets have already been put into a trust, they will not have to go through probate. In these cases, the assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries or the surviving owner. However, if an asset was only owned by the deceased, it will likely need to pass through probate.
Types of Probate
There are different kinds of probate available depending on the size of the estate. You may be able to go through simplified probate if there’s no will or if the deceased’s assets value less than $20,000. This streamlined and cheaper option allows the remaining assets to go straight to the surviving spouse or a family member. Formal probate will likely be necessary for more extensive estates or when there are disagreements between the family and beneficiaries.
The Estate Administration Process
In most probate cases, the administrator will work to locate the assets, have them assessed if necessary, open a bank account for the estate, contact creditors and give them sufficient time to address debts, pay taxes, contact the beneficiaries, settle any disputes with the help of a judge or a probate attorney, and then distribute assets. If you were named the executor, you will still have to be formally named so by a judge, and this can be done 10 days after the death. Estate administration is a big job, and the administrator can compensate themselves for their work using assets from the estate. You can also use cash from the estate to pay an attorney.
Estate Administration Attorney Serving Union City, New Jersey
If you’re in the Union City, New Jersey, area and are looking for an attorney who can help you through the estate administration process or probate, call us at Hudson Law Firm to get started. Whether you only have a few questions to make sure you’re on the right track or you want a partner through the entire process, we can help.