When a loved one dies, it can be a trying, emotional, and difficult time. However, while you are grieving your loss, there are a number of immediate legal issues that arise that unfortunately do not wait until the loved one’s family is done grieving. Instead, the person who passed away, also called the decedent, has an estate that will need to be handled, processed, and transferred to the next of kin or any beneficiaries.
If the decedent had a Will, their estate will be distributed in accordance with that Will through a process known as probate, which is the process by which the authenticity of the Will is proven. There are a number of procedural requirements that an executor must complete during the probate process, and these procedures can be time-sensitive and/or somewhat complicated.
If a decedent dies without a Will, or intestate, the process by which the decedent’s assets are collected and distributed is called administration and the process is governed by the State of New Jersey’s intestate laws. This means that there is a certain path by which the decedent’s family members can become the administrator of the estate, depending on whether the decedent died with a spouse, children, or surviving parents.
In either probate or administration of an estate, an experienced attorney who is versed in the law and the procedures of probate and administration is essential. The death of a loved one is a trying and emotion time, and your choice of attorney should be the least of your worries as you are grieving your loss and learning to live without the decedent. Experienced attorneys who know and understand the probate and administration process can reduce your stress and put your mind at ease during an already difficult and emotional time. Our estate attorneys are prepared to address all of the requirements of what either probate or administration of an estate entails and will guide you through the difficult process.
In advance of needing an estate attorney, prior to the death of a loved one, our office also handles Power of Attorneys, Living Wills, which allow individuals to dictate that they die with dignity and without life-prolonging medical assistance if their condition is terminal, and appointment of personal Healthcare Representatives, to make healthcare decisions for them when they are not capable of doing so because of a medical condition or medical emergency.
Call us TODAY for a free consultation today.