New Jersey Probate Estate

Information and tips on submitting a Will to probate in New Jersey. What is the time limit and procedure for probate?

When to probate a New Jersey Will

The application for probate may be filed at any time after the testator’s death. 3B:3-22

Where is the Will probated?

The surrogates of the several counties or the superior court have the power to admit a New Jersey Will to probate. 3B:3-17

What proof is required?

If the Will is self-proved, then the surrogate may admit a New Jersey Last Will & Testament to probate without further affidavit, deposition or proof. 3B:3-19. However, if the Will is contested, then the testimony of at least one of the attesting witnesses is required. 3B:3-23

If not self-proved, the surrogate will need the proof from one of the attesting witnesses. If this is unattainable, then proof needs to be provided by some other individual who can vouch that the New Jersey Will was executed properly by the testator and attested by one of the witnesses. 3B:3-19

What if the Will is not witnessed?

A court has the power to probate a New Jersey Will that has not been witnessed if: the signature and material portions of the document are in the testator’s handwriting. There must be evidence that the testator intended the document to constitute his/her Will. This can be established by extrinsic evidence (including portions of the document that are not in the testator’s handwriting). 3B:3-2(b)

What if someone’s hiding the Will?

The superior court has the power to order the person to lodge a New Jersey Last Will and Testament with the surrogate of the county for probate. 3B:3-29

Who administers the estate?

If the decedent left a valid New Jersey Will then the court appoints the executor named in the Will, as personal representative. This appointment is by way of issuing letters testamentary. 3B:3-17

If the Will did not name an executor then the court appoints an administrator by way of letters of administration with the Will annexed. 3B:3-17

If the New Jersey Will is not accepted or if the decedent died intestate (without a valid Will), then the personal representative will be:

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner;
  • The remaining heirs of the intestate or some of them;
  • If there are no heirs or if no one claims administration within 40 days of the death, then the superior court or surrogate’s court may appoint any other fit person.  3B:10-2

Estate Taxes

New Jersey has adopted a simplified tax system. This system may be used where a federal return is not required to be filed. The estate must file a Form IT- Estate together with a New Jersey inheritance tax return Form IT-R

The Form 706 method requires that the Form IT-Estate be prepared and filed along with a 2001 federal tax return form 706 completed in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2001.

The New Jersey estate tax is based upon the federal credit for state inheritance, estate, succession or legacy taxes as it existed on December 31, 2001 and not as it existed on the decedent’s date of death.

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