From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: You Cannot Avoid Burlington County Probate in All Circumstances
Most Recently Updated July 14, 2018.
“Our entire lives, my parents and I have lived in Burlington County, NJ. My father died two years ago, and my mother passed away last week. I was an only child and everything in my mother’s will was left to me. 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.”
You Cannot Avoid Burlington County Probate in All Circumstances
The short answer is: no, you cannot 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. In your case, because your mother had a house and car in her name, her will should be probated.
The Probate Process
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 a beneficiary to file a caveat.
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 hears 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.
What We Do
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?
Attempts to avoid probate 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: You Cannot Avoid Burlington County Probate in All Circumstances
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining the probate process. 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