Purposeful Advocacy for New Jersey
A Path Forward for Your Finances, Your Family, & Your Future

What Is the Probate Process Like?

When a loved one passes away, it is a sad experience that causes an emotional time in our lives. Dealing with estate administration can be difficult to handle during these times. The stress of planning legal and financial issues may be something you cannot bear. However, the process can be made to be more efficient with the help of an attorney. With our legal counsel, we can guide you along the planning while remaining compassionate to your needs. You should not have to carry this burden alone.

A will is a legal document that ensures a person’s wishes regarding their estate after they die. Probate proves the legality of the will and allows the court to distribute the assets described.

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. If it is contested, it may be sent to the Superior Court. However, if a person dies without a will, they died intestate. The state of New Jersey will appoint a representative to oversee the administration of the estate. This person may be the closest living relative.

When Do I Start the Probate Process?

Probate may not begin until 11 days after the death of the individual. The original will and death certificate may be filed at this time. It should be filed 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.

The executor is the representative that has the legal responsibility to take care of the deceased person’s remaining financial obligations. They may be named in the will specifically or appointed by the court. Some of their responsibilities include providing accounting to the court, paying outstanding debts and taxes and collecting, protecting and distributing assets according to the will’s specification. If you have been assigned as an executor, it is a serious task to take on. You may want to seek our legal counsel to ensure the tasks are done thoroughly. During times of death, it may be hard to focus and think clearly. We can help provide a clear state of mind to ensure everything is done properly.

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.