Probate is simply defined as a legal, court supervised act that is sometimes required after a person dies. You have likely heard of someone receiving an inheritance from a grandparent, aunt, uncle or parent, for example. Well, the probate process is the legal act of moving an asset (inheritance) from the deceased person’s name into the recipient’s. In general, a surviving spouse or other close family member or person of authority will go through the probate process and ensure all assets are given to those who were selected to inherit them. However, not all assets have to go through the probate process.
Possessions/Assets That Are Considered Nonprobate Assets:
- Assets that the deceased person owned in conjunction with someone else will pass to the sole surviving owner in most cases. Therefore, an asset that is owned jointly by someone who is still alive will pass to them instead of having to go through the courts.
- Pension benefits of insurance proceeds that name a beneficiary.
- Assets that are not included in a will and that have a selected beneficiary. An example of this could include a payable on death bank account, 401K or IRA plan.
- Assets that are included in a living trust.
Simplified Probate Procedures Honored in New Jersey:
In New Jersey, there are some exceptions set in place to prevent every family from having to go through the process of probate. This is especially true when a deceased person either didn’t leave a will at all or whose valuable property is minimal. Family members can take advantage of this simplified probate process offered in New Jersey if the following statements are true:
1.) There is no surviving domestic partner or spouse and the values of all the assets associated with a deceased person’s possessions are under $10,000. Even with one heir, there are some ways to take advantage of this simplified process.
2.) The deceased person’s assets are valued under $20,000 and all of the assets are set to go to the surviving domestic partner or spouse.
Seeking Help with the Probate Process:
If an estate has to be probated, it is handled in the surrogate’s court within the county where the deceased person resided. Admittedly, the probate process can be confusing. Therefore, it’s wise to seek the help of a probate attorney to guide you through the process. Call the Law Offices of Joseph Threston to learn how we can help you through this difficult time in your life.