- Expenses for the decedent’s funeral;
- Administration expenses, which includes legal fees, probate fees, and appraisals among others;
- Money owed to the government such as estate and income taxes; and
- Real property taxes that were accrued prior to the decedent’s death.
When someone contests a Last Will and Testament, they are objecting to its validity. In order to contest a Will in New Jersey, an individual must have “standing,” or locus standi. To have standing, or locus standi, the individual must be considered a person with an interest in the estate, such as legal heir. Anyone named in a prior Last Will and Testament may also have standing to contest a Will, if the Will entered into probate removes or reduces the share that person or group would have received in a prior Will.
It is important to create a comprehensive estate plan, and there are certain measures that one can take to avoid probate if done correctly. Probate is the legal process whereby a last will and testament is determined to be valid and authentic by a court of law. Under New Jersey State Law, the will is admitted to probate when the executor files a “Petition for Probate” with the decedent’s will attached. Additionally, if the decedent died without a will, then an administrator would apply with the Surrogate. Probate proceedings take place in the county surrogate’s court where the decedent resided at the time of their death.
When a parent passes away, oftentimes their spouse or adult children are left to settle the estate. While debt may be the last thing on the mind of someone that loses a loved one, it is an important issue that may arise upon their passing. Many people have similar questions when it comes to estate debt: Are the beneficiaries responsible for a loved one’s debt upon their death? What happens if the assets of the estate amount to less than the debt the parent owed?