Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

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Retiredron
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by Retiredron » Tue May 26, 2020 6:06 am

Hello everyone,

My sister recently passed away in NJ and unfortunately she had no will. Her husband died years back and my two nephews are trying to figure out next steps. Her estate consists of a home, personal possessions and a small checking account. There is a home equity loan outstanding.

I do not live in NJ and am not familiar with the intestacy law there but am trying my best to support my nephews. I assume they will need a local lawyer to submit all necessary forms and documents to the county court to begin the process of changing the deed and splitting the funds in the checking account. I would appreciate any input you can share on the first several steps they should be taking to settle the estate. Thanks so much.

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galawdawg
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Location: Georgia

Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by galawdawg » Tue May 26, 2020 6:13 am

Sorry for your loss.

Here's a pretty good checklist of things for a surviving spouse to do when their loved one passes. It is in PDF format. While it is written for a surviving spouse, I think you and your nephews may find it helpful as well:

https://www.balancepro.net/education/pd ... spouse.pdf

mouses
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Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by mouses » Tue May 26, 2020 6:16 am

Try calling the probate court. The clerk of the one in our town was very helpful with information about what heeded to be done.

retiringwhen
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by retiringwhen » Tue May 26, 2020 6:21 am

Since she had no will, a request for administration (aka appoint the executor) will need to be filed with the court system The courts have the final say
about who is appointed. The situation you described should make it simple for one of the nephews or possibly you to be named the executor. I would suggest you find a NJ lawyer who regularly performs estate duties so you that it can be done quickly and simply.

bsteiner
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Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by bsteiner » Tue May 26, 2020 8:32 am

They probably won't need a lawyer. In New Jersey, the courts will fill out the forms for them. If they're in the county they should come to the court in person. If they're in another county in New Jersey the court will send the forms to the Surrogate's Court in their home county if they want. If they're out of state, the court will send the forms to them or to a notary of their choice.

Check the website of the applicable county Surrogate's Court or call the court to find out if they take walk-ins or if they want you to make an appointment. Check or ask whether they want you to send in an information sheet or fact sheet in advance and see if it's on their website.

Also check or ask whether there are any changes in the procedures due to the virus.

When they're ready to sell the house, the buyer's title company will tell them whether they should sign as administrators in addition to signing individually.

The default in New Jersey for administration is to put up a bond, but they should ask if the court will waive a bond if they're both administrators or if one is administrator and the other consents to waiving a bond.

retiringwhen
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by retiringwhen » Tue May 26, 2020 11:35 am

bsteiner +1 !

OP, he knows his stuff both Estates and NJ, you can bank in his info!

RudyS
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Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by RudyS » Tue May 26, 2020 12:10 pm

So lucky to have bsteiner on this board! And a couple of others who are also willing to share good advice.

Edited: didn't mean only two. There are lots of others who eagerly share good advice.
Last edited by RudyS on Tue May 26, 2020 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Watty
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Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by Watty » Tue May 26, 2020 1:18 pm

It was years ago in a different state but when we were settling my mom's estate one of the things that the lawyer told us was that no one should drive her car until it had been retitled.

The problem was that if there is an accident that her car insurance would not cover the driver since they did not have the owners permission to drive the car. Likewise the drivers car insurance would usually not cover them for the same reasons.

Anyway if she had a car they should research the insurance situation before driving the car.

They should also check with the home insurance company since there may be limitations on having a vacant house for too long. If the home is not sold by the fall they should also be sure to winterize it well, even if they leave the heat on the power could go out and the pipes could freeze.

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Retiredron
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Re: Sister died without will in NJ; trying to help nephews

Post by Retiredron » Tue May 26, 2020 7:00 pm

Thank you all for the valuable input.

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