From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Half-Sibling Intestacy Succession
Most Recently Updated August 9, 2018.
“My sister died in Gloucester County, New Jersey without a will. Our parents are dead, and she never married or had children. Our dad had a daughter out of wedlock when he was very young. It was something that the family didn’t speak of, and we only saw her once in our lives. If a sibling dies without a Will in New Jersey, does a half-sibling receive a share?”
Half-Sibling Intestacy Succession
Dying Without a Will in Gloucester County New Jersey Means, the Rules of Intestacy Apply.
New Jersey law gave your sister the ability to leave her assets to any person through a Will. Through the Will, she had the right to include or exclude whomever she wished. Unlike some countries, an unmarried New Jersey resident has no legal obligation to leave family members anything at death. Unfortunately, your sister failed to exercise her right to make a Will. This means that her wishes are not honored. Instead, the law applies the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy.
When there is no Will, the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy provide clear rules over how to divide the deceased person’s assets. Without a Will, the state applies the intestacy rules to avoid protracted litigation and quickly allow the estate’s division.
When a Person Dies Without a Will in New Jersey, the Intestacy Rules Treat Half and Whole Siblings Equally.
The intestacy rules state that if a person dies unmarried, without children or living parents, assets pass equally to siblings. There is no difference in the New Jersey Intestacy Rules between a full or half sibling. In your case, your sister died with two siblings; yourself and your half sister. You each will receive one-half the estate. It does not matter if your sisters never spoke or met.
Opening the Administration.
To secure your sister’s assets, someone must open her estate with the Gloucester County Surrogate. If your sister had a Will, she could have named Personal Representative. Because she died without a Will, New Jersey as a set of rules that dictate who can now open the estate as an Administration. This person’s title is Administrator. Once appointed, the Administrator has the power to gather your sister’s assets.
The rules require that to open the Administration, you must notify your half-sister. You must provide her the opportunity to participate in the process. You both have equal rights to serve as the Administrator. If you wish to serve as Administrator, your half-sister must either agree or be given the right to disagree in a hearing. Consequently, it will be less confrontational and less expensive if you both were able to cooperate.
See my website for more information about New Jersey Probate and Estate Administration.
Life has now given you the chance to get to know your long lost sister!
More Probate Questions?
Half-Sibling Intestacy Succession 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: Half-Sibling Intestacy Succession
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining Half-Sibling Intestacy Succession. 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!
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