Purposeful Advocacy for New Jersey
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How Can I Plan for My Estate?

Planning for your estate is an important part of life that you should consider. It can be comforting to know that everything is taken care of once you are gone. This can help your family and friends get the closure they need. By planning for your estate, you can retain control over your assets once you pass.

Probate refers to the process that proves the validity of legal documents regarding estate administration. The probate process involves the validation of legal matters regarding a deceased person’s estate. After you pass, your family will not have to worry about dealing with the distribution of your possessions. Instead, you will be preparing for them, which can help ease their emotional situation and relieve some stress from the experience.

What Documents Are Involved in Probate?

A will is a legal document that undergoes the probate process to prove that it is valid in the eyes of the court. When a will is made by someone, they will outline who they want their possessions to go to. They may also choose an executor of their will. The executor is in charge of ensuring that the proper possessions are given to the right people as is outlined in the document. As an executor, they will have substantial responsibilities that require their cooperation.

A will is vital to declare your wishes for your estate. Beneficiaries of a will are the individuals who are named in the document to receive an asset from the deceased person. If the individual who created the will was not healthy or lucid enough to decide the terms of the will, it may not be considered valid. Upon laying out the will, the individual will have to sign it and have two witnesses present to ensure the state of mind of the individual.

What’s the Difference Between Testate and Intestate?

Testate means that a person dies with a valid will. The will has gotten the proper documentation and the Surrogate Court will oversee the probate of the will. Since the will has gone through the proper probate process, it proves that the will is valid and is a formal legal document.

If the will is contested, it may be sent to the Superior Court. When an individual dies without a will, it means they died intestate. A representative may be appointed by the state to oversee the administration of the estate. This person may be the closest living relative. Certain family members, such as a living spouse or children, may be entitled to the estate.

When Do I Begin the Probate Process After Someone Dies?

Individuals cannot begin the probate process until 11 days after their death. The original will and death certificate may be filed at this time with the Surrogate Court in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death. The filing of the papers may be done by the executor of the will, any heirs, spouses, creditors or anyone else with a property right or claim against the estate.

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.