If a decedent dies “intestate” (without a will), the court will appoint a person to lawfully act on behalf of the estate. From here, the probate process will begin. If you’ve been named the executor or administrator of an estate, you should strongly consider hiring a competent Bergen County probate lawyer who help guide you through the process ahead. Contact the Law Office of E. Gregory M. Cannarozzi to learn more about how our legal team can assist you.
Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?
Going through the probate process can be a stressful experience. As an estate administrator, you’re in charge of ensuring your loved one’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. Don’t take on this responsibility without a seasoned Bergen County, New Jersey estate planning lawyer who can help ensure the process moves along as smoothly as possible.
The Probate Process
Probate, generally, is the legal process whereby the real and personal property owned by the decedent is transferred to another. Essentially, the initial step is to authenticate the writing as the decedent’s last will and testament. If the will appoints an executor, the person named then has to qualify for the office.
Thereafter, the surrogate issues Letters Testamentary, which is the written authorization for the person to lawfully act on behalf of the estate. The executor then inventories all of the assets owned by the decedent and identifies all debts. Once this is accomplished, taxes, debts, and expenses incurred during the administration of the estate must be paid, an accounting to the heirs named in the will should be rendered and the assets are distributed in accordance with the terms and provisions of the will.
The assets of a decedent’s estate are categorized as probate or non-probate property. Probate property is property that is solely in the name of the decedent that is to be transferred by the provisions of a will. Non-probate property is property that is either jointly held or passes by the operation of law. For instance, a right of survivorship in a deed, or when an individual is named specifically by the decedent to be the beneficiary of (e.g., an IRA or a life insurance policy), or when property passes according to the terms of a trust created by the decedent before death.
Contact a Dedicated New Jersey Probate Lawyer
The probate process can be confusing, which is why anyone going through it should speak with a seasoned probate lawyer who understands the ins and outs of estate law. If you need an attorney to effectively represent you, contact the Law Office of E. Gregory M. Cannarozzi to schedule your initial consultation with our experienced legal team.