From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Camden County Intestacy Rules
Most Recently Updated July 15, 2018.
“Before he died, my dad lived with me in Camden County, New Jersey, for several years. My wife and I took him to the doctor and cared for him when he became bedridden. He died without a will and all his assets are being divided between my brothers and I equally. They never helped with his care. This is not fair. Can I make the estate pay me for my time?”
Camden County Intestacy Rules
Under New Jersey rules, your father could have made a will and given you the entire estate. Alternately, he could have made a Will that said you would receive more of his estate to reflect the work you did. Because he did not make a Will at all, the New Jersey intestate rule divides his assets between all children, equally. Prior to the assets being divided, all his creditors must be paid. This includes his funeral expense and final taxes.
Had he made an agreement with you and your wife that you would be paid for the care you provided him, then you would also be a creditor. That would have put you first in line for a distribution from the estate before the “family” share the state would require you to divide with your brothers.
Outside of an Agreement, Caring for a Relative is a Gift
However, it sounds from your description that you had no such agreement. Because family members regularly provide their parents with care, this care is considered a gift unless you can prove otherwise. Your brothers could agree to give you more of the estate to reflect your work, but that would be up to them.
More Planning Questions?
Avoiding an intestate situation is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Camden County Intestacy Rules
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining your options under intestacy rules. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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