Klenk Law

LGBT Intestate Succession for the Spouse in New Jersey

Posted on Mon Oct 20, 2014, on LGBT Estate Planning

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: LGBT Intestate Succession for the Spouse

Most Recently Updated July 7 2018

“If I die without a Will, do all my Assets Pass to my Same-Sex Spouse?”

LGBT Intestate Succession for the Spouse

LGBT Intestate Succession for the Spouse

Many people believe that if they are married without children, there is no need for a Will. They believe that if they die, all their assets will pass to their spouse. In New Jersey, that may not be true.

First let me give you some background.

If you die a resident of New Jersey without having signed a Will, you are “intestate”, and the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy dictate who inherits your Probate Assets. Probate Assets are the things that you owned in your own name that had no beneficiary designations. Some assets, like life insurance and IRAs typically name a beneficiary. Those things pass to the beneficiary even if you have no Will. Other assets, such as real estate, bank accounts and cars typically do not have a beneficiary designation. Those are the assets that make up your Probate Estate; the assets that pass under your Will. Those Probate Assets pass under the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy if you die with no will.

A New Jersey resident at the time of your death without children, married to a same-sex spouse and you have no Will, then your Probate Estate will pass as follows:

  • If you die married to your LGBT spouse, but have no surviving parents, then your spouse inherits all your assets.
  • If you die married to you LGBT spouse, but have parents that survive you, then
    • Your spouse inherits the first 25% of your Intestate Estate, but not less than $50,000.00 or more than $200,000.00, plus 3/4 of the remaining assets.
    • Your Parents inherit the remaining assets.

Intestate Presumptions

The presumption is that if you had no Will you meant to leave some of your estate for your parents’ care. This mistake can cause conflict, confusion and increase the cost of probating your estate

For example:

James and Robert are married without children. James dies without a Will, owning an $800,000.00 home in Ocean County and survived by his father. However, James wanted Robert to live in the house until his death, but because he died without a Will, his father forced the house sold for $800,000.00. Robert receives the first 25% ($200,000.00) and ¾ of the remainder ($450,000.00). James’ father receives the remainder ($150,000.00).

For example:

Erica and Laura are married without children. Laura dies without a Will a resident of Berks County, owning several large investment accounts that have no beneficiary designation, and survived by her parents. The parents are divorced and dislike one another and neither parent cares for Erica. Both parents and Erica petition the Berks County Surrogate to serve as the Administrator. Expensive litigation that can last months may begin at this point.

For example:

The same James and Robert are married without children. James dies with a Will that gives all of his assets to Robert. Robert inherits the $800,000.00 home and James’ father has no claim to the estate. So, Robert is free to live in the house.

For example:

The same Erica and Laura are married without children. Laura dies with a Will that gives each of her parents $20,000.00 and the remainder of her estate to Erica. The Will names Erica as the executor. Erica then files the Will, the Surrogate names her executor and the feuding parents have no claim to serve as executor. Erica gives the parents each a check for $20,000.00 and they have no further interest in the estate.

Having a Will completely avoids the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy.

More Planning Questions?

LGBT Estate Planning 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: LGBT Intestate Succession for the Spouse

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining the importance of estate planning as an LGBT couple. 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!

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!

 

Tags:

Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Lawyer, LGBT, LGBT Estate Planning, New Jersey

What Our clients are saying

Stars

Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

Stars

Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.

Stars

When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...

Stars

AWESOME LAWYER! Peter Klenk is an exceptional attorney and a very nice person! Today I spoke with Peter about estate planning and was impressed with by his professionalism, cordiality, and attention to detail. I highly recommend Klenk Law for probates, wills, trusts, and other issues germane to estate planning!

Stars

Great friendly staff

Stars

Tremendous firm with bright, kind and tenacious people. Great representation for our family.

Stars

I'm totally satisfied with Klenk Law. Peter has a great legal mind with the personality of the guy next door.

Stars

Everything about my experience was a 10+! Peter and his staff made what I thought would be a difficult process easy and understandable. Every detail was handled correctly. No other firm could possibly do better than Klenk Law!

Stars

Peter and his staff are very responsive and always willing to help my clients and in a cost efficient manner.

Stars

Like another reviewer, I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link, for a question regarding PA inheritance taxes. The question was quite technical and difficult to explain, and the answer was nowhere to be found on the web. Peter grasped precisely what I was asking, and provided a clear, helpful response (with a touch of humor) the very next day.

Stars

Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem

Stars

Mr. Klenk, quickly understood the circumstances presented and provided clear and concise advice. This advice provided me with the information I required to progress the case to my advantage.

Stars

Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.

Stars

Peter recently gave a presentation about Wills & Trusts at my employer, and it was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and provided valuable information to the group. People were very engaged and asked several questions, all of which Peter thoroughly answered. Personally, my husband and I have selected Peter to help us with our estate planning, and he has been very helpful in providing us with all of the information we need to provide a secure future for our family. Thank you, Peter!

Stars

Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

Stars

Peter explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Everything was done in the time frame he said it. Could not have been better!

Stars

You & your staff are the best thank you for everything.

Stars

Peter and his staff handled all of our needs in a very professional and timely matter.

Stars

Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.

Stars

Peter explained a complex subject very clearly, helped us to decide the best approach to managing our estate and then made it very easy for us to execute the required documents. He will be a valuable resource for years to come and clearly has a great understanding of estate law that will lead to innovative solutions for us. I would unhesitatingly recommend him for estate planning.

Stars

Fantastic customer service. Very personable and most importantly they provide great explanations of what is required based on your individual needs. Highly recommend Klenk Law for anyone that needs to create a will and estate documents.

Stars

Always professional and very responsive. Everyone on the staff that I have worked with. I look forward to continuing our relationship.

Stars

Surprisingly easy

Stars

Affable...yet surprisingly cerebral estate planning atty. High marks all the way around.

Stars

Peter and his associates made things easy for us.

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Free consultation within 24 hours.