The basic steps of the probate process

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Probate 07653 (Paramus, NJ) 

Probate in Paramus is a court process that likely would be required when a person dies leaving property in their name alone in Paramus. All other properties held jointly, in the name of a trust, or bearing a beneficiary designation will not be probated. The probate process in Paramus sees to it that the will, if available, is presented in court, estate bills, debts and taxes are paid, and the properties pass on to beneficiaries according to the will. All these will be done by the executor nominated by the testator in the will.

 In the absence of a will and executor, an individual, most probably a relative of the deceased may come forward and ask the court to appoint them as the administrator. The probate court can also on its own appoint an estate administrator who will perform the same functions of the executor. A probate lawyer is often involved as well, either hired by the executor or administrator, or by the court. The executor or administrator will be responsible for carrying out probate through the following processes. 

The steps involved in probate

1. Initiating probate by filing a petition to the probate court

Probate begins when the executor files a petition to the probate court. This has to be done at least 10 days after the death of the testator. The executor must bring the will and death certificate of the will along while filing the petition. The court then reviews the will to see if it complies with state laws regarding the establishment of wills. If the will is valid and the executor is accepted by the court, a document called “Letters Testamentary” will be issued to the executor. If there is no executor or valid will, the estate administrator appointed will be issued “Letters of Administration.” These documents give the executor and administrator the authorization to carry out their functions as below.

2. Notifying the public of the commencement of probate

Once the will and executor has been accepted by the probate court, or an administrator has been appointed, they proceed to notify the public of the probate court hearing. Heirs and beneficiaries can either accept or object the appointment of the executor, and may do so in the probate court. A written notice can be put out through mass media to reach all interested parties and creditors of the estate, so they can come forward to lay their claims. The creditors are given a limited time frame of 9 months to come forward, and once this duration elapses, whatever claims they hereafter make will be invalid.

3. Taking inventory and appraisal of the estate

The next step of probate is for the personal representative’s to collect and inventory all assets in the decedent’s name. The total worth of the assets is estimated including stocks and bonds, and a checking account will then be opened from which funds will be spent on behalf of the decedent. A probate attorney in Paramus or other professional can help with appraising assets.

4. Payment of estate debts, expenses and taxes

When creditors come forward, the personal representative has to determine which of these claims are legitimate and make payments. Creditors, funeral bills, court charges and estate taxes will all be settled from the checking account already created.

5. Disbursing assets to beneficiaries

If there is a valid will in place, then assets will be distributed to them according to the instructions on the will. Note that this must be done after estate debts, expenses and taxes have been paid, so beneficiaries will only be receiving whatever is left. Also, this must come after the waiting period has elapsed. The executor has to file a petition before disbursing assets, and this petition should include an account of how estate funds were spent. Some property may need to be liquidated before they can be passed.

In the absence of a will, the administrator disburses the assets to heirs according to New Jersey intestacy laws. 

Probate lawyer Paramus, NJ

As probate NJ is governed by the probate laws of NJ, you may need to hire a probate lawyer, NJ for legal assistance if you’re appointed as the executor or administrator of an estate. The probate lawyer has formal training and specialization in probate laws of New Jersey, and will guide you on what to do, ensuring you carry out your administrative duties efficiently. Contact the probate attorney Paramus, NJ, today.

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DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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