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Inheritance Law in New Jersey

When an estate plan is created, it is because an individual wishes to prepare for what will happen to their assets after their death. When this is done, people often create a will or trust to ensure the assets end up in the right hands. This allows the individual to pass these belongings to certain beneficiaries of their choosing. A beneficiary is a person or an entity that inherits the assets of a deceased individual. When an estate goes through the probate of probate, beneficiaries may find it useful to enlist an attorney for assistance in protecting their rights to certain assets.

Minor Beneficiaries

When a deceased individual leaves behind an estate, they sometimes leave assets to young children for them to obtain when they reach a certain age. If a child beneficiary is left an estate, trust, or life insurance policy, a Guardian may be appointed to manage it until the child becomes of age. Sometimes this is specified in the estate, or an individual passes away without a plan. When an individual passes away without an estate, these situations can become difficult. This is why it is important for beneficiaries to utilize the assistance of an attorney during this time.

Tax Obligation

In the state of New Jersey, there is an inheritance tax. The inheritance tax is required for estates that are worth more than $25,000. However, this only affects certain heirs, not all of them. Those who are exempt from this include close relatives such as spouses, parents, children, and grandchildren. This means they do not have to pay any state inheritance tax, regardless of the amount they inherit. Other relatives, such as siblings or spouses of deceased children, are taxed. The rate in New Jersey starts at 11% and can rise to 16% depending on the amount a beneficiary inherits.

The inheritance tax is in addition to the federal estate tax. If an individual passes away in New Jersey with an estate less than $11,400,000, the exemption amount, there is no obligation towards federal estate tax. Residents in New Jersey were previously required to pay an estate tax, but the tax was repealed in 2018.


When an individual dies, the will must go through probate. This is a process that determines the validity of the will. Sometimes, a beneficiary may be suspicious of the content in a will and believe that it could not be a legal document. A beneficiary may wish to contest a will if they believe the following:

  • The deceased did not sign their will

  • There were no witnesses present at the signing

  • The deceased was coerced into signing their will

Contact Our Firm

If you are a beneficiary to an estate and wish to seek more information about your rights, contact Velasco Law Office today.

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.