New Jersey Trusts and Estates Attorneys
If you die without a will, you die intestate. This means that your property will be distributed by the intestate law. It is very important to have a will, as the intestate law may not necessarily reflect your personal wishes.
The New Jersey intestate law changed in 2005. According to the law:
- If you are survived by a spouse and/or children of that marriage, your spouse will receive your property.
- If you have children of a prior marriage and a current marriage and are survived by your spouse, your spouse will receive the first 25% but not less than $50,000 and not more than $200,000 plus one half of the balance of your property and your children will receive the remaining one half of the balance. Your parents will not receive anything.
- If you have no children, but you have parents and a spouse, your spouse will receive the first 25% of your property but not less than $50,000 or more than $200,000 plus ¾ the balance of the property. Your parents will receive the other ¼.
- If you have no spouse or children, your estate will pass to your parents if they are alive. If they are not, it passes to your siblings. If there are no siblings, it passes to your grandparents. If they are not alive, then it passes to aunts and uncles.
- Your spouse will usually be appointed the administrator of the estate. If there is no spouse, your nearest relative may be appointed.
- A bond will have to be purchased to ensure that the estate is properly administered. Another bond may have to be obtained if property is distributable to a minor.
Additional expenses and uncertainties can be avoided by having a will. If you are in the process of thinking about to whom you would like to distribute your property upon your death, or if you already have a will and there has been a change in your family structure or finances, contact an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Hunziker, Jones, and Sweeney can help draft a will that reflects your wishes. Call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form for a consultation.