New Jersey Probate Procedures
For New Jersey estates that cannot automatically bypass probate, both complex and more streamlined probate processes are available. For example, estates worth less than $20,000 but lacking a will may be eligible for a simplified probate process in which the surviving spouse or domestic partner is issued an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse by the New Jersey Surrogate (acting as the Clerk of the Probate Court), allowing the case to bypass probate administration. Estates worth less than $10,000, but lacking a surviving spouse or domestic partner, are eligible for the same simplified proceeding. An Affidavit of Heir may be issued by the New Jersey Surrogate Court to one of the main heirs once consent of other applicable heirs is obtained. The case will then bypass New Jersey probate court.
Wealthier estates and estates in which the heirs contest their portions may require more complex probate procedures. In such cases, it may be a good idea to hire a New Jersey probate attorney with experience in complex probate litigation. However, in many cases the filing of forms and subsequent follow-up with the court does not require legal assistance.
For more information, check out our article on the Basics of New Jersey Probate