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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

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

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