Skip to Content

We are a Veteran Owned Business, providing 20% discounts for Veterans, First Responders, Elementary and High School teachers. Please contact us to set up a phone or Zoom meeting. Taking care of you and your family, It's What We Do!

Do I need to Probate my mother’s estate if she only held a couple assets at death?

Posted on Thu Jun 18, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Probating a Gloucester Estate with Few Assets

Most Recently Updated July 15, 2018.

“My entire life, I have lived in Gloucester County, New Jersey, with my parents. My father died two years ago, and my mother passed away last week. I was an only child, everything in my mothers Will was left to me, and I am executor. Do I need to probate her will or open an estate? Her only assets were our family home valued at $600,000 and her car.”

Probating a Gloucester Estate with Few Assets

Probating a Gloucester Estate with Few Assets

The short answer is no, you can not transfer the deed without going through probate. In New Jersey, there are only a few cases where there is no need to probate a will. The two most common situations are:

  • when a person dies with no individually held assets or
  • an individual dies with no assets whatsoever.

However, one could also imagine a situation where the only assets of the deceased are non-probate assets with individual beneficiary designations. However, in your case, because your mother had a house and car in her name, her will should be probated.

Short Certificates

Probate is initiated in the Surrogate’s Court, but short certificates will not be issued until 11 days after the date of death. Short certificates give the Executor legal authority to sell or transfer assets of the deceased. This time period allows for an heir at law or beneficiary to file a caveat.

Probate Process

After that, the probate process is initiated with the presentation of an original will together with a certified copy of the death certificate and list of heirs at law to the Surrogate by the named executor. If the will is found to be valid, the Surrogate prepares the required documents to move the process forward and allow the Executor to begin acting. The probate process ensures that any creditors or potential heirs have an opportunity to stake their claim. Additionally, it gives the Executor finality in their disposition of estate assets and tax return filings.

At Klenk Law, we have experienced probate attorneys who can help executors navigate the complex area of administration and law that surrounds probate. Our experience can help save hours of confusion and protect executors from personal liability.

More Probate Questions?

Probating an Estate with few assets is only part of the overall probate process. By all means, if you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: Probating a Gloucester Estate with Few Assets

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining NJ Probate. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!

Let our Probate Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Probate Attorneys.  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:

Avoiding Probate, Gloucester County, New Jersey, Probate, Probate Attorney, Probate Lawyer

Peter KlenkPeter Klenk

What Our clients are saying

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

D.P.

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.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

A Google User

Peter Klenk & Associates is my go-to firm for estate planning and advice in probate and estate administration. Peter and his attorneys are top-notch and exceptionally responsive. Peter has the knack of being able to explain extremely complex tax and estate planning issues in a manner that clients are easily able to understand and comprehend allowing them to confidently make important decisions.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Stephen T.

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

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Brian M.

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.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Linda F.

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

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Free consultation within 24 hours.