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Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

How Does Probate Work?


Losing a loved one is devastating. The added stress of dealing with probate and estate administration can make the grieving process even more painful. The executor or personal representative of an estate is often a loved one of the person who passed away, making dealing with issues like probate challenging. At Giro & Associates, LLC, our attorneys are experienced professionals who help make estate administration easier and provide the compassionate legal support our clients need during difficult times.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process in which assets are reviewed and distributed to beneficiaries of an estate. Even with a will in place, probate is necessary to confirm the will's validity and administer assets that are not in a trust, automatically transferred or payable on death. Probate can be a costly, lengthy process, so having a seasoned probate estate administration lawyer in their corner helps take some of the burden off our client's shoulders.

The Probate Process in New Jersey

In New Jersey, all probate cases go through the county Surrogate Court where the decedent resided. If all goes well and there are no issues with the estate, the process typically takes less than a year. A simplified probate process may be used if an estate is small enough. However, if an estate is complex or someone contests a will or raises an objection, estate administration can be delayed.

If there is no will with a named executor, the Surrogate Court appoints an administrator to manage the estate distribution procedure. The Court then issues legal documents such as Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration. The executor or administrator must send a Notice of Probate to beneficiaries and other interested parties within 60 days. Our River Edge probate attorneys assist families with this litigation and work to resolve any issues that arise promptly.

Duties of an Executor or Administrator

The executor or personal representative must gather all assets, have them valued and appraised, and prepare and file an inventory of property, which is also given to beneficiaries can creditors. They must pay any outstanding debts, funeral expenses, and administration costs. The executor or administrator also files and pays all federal and state income and estate taxes. When all debts are settled, the executor distributes any remaining assets and does a final accounting of the estate. Once it's approved, probate will be closed.

The representative must keep the beneficiaries updated throughout the process and inform them of any information or issues that may affect their rights. They are also responsible for protecting and maintaining the estate's property. They may sell anything that is perishable or would lose value during the probate process.

This is just a brief summary of the duties an administrator or executor must complete. These tasks are time-consuming and can be challenging. Our estate administration lawyers help executors and administrators understand the process and assist them with all aspects of probate and asset distribution.

Which Assets Must Be Probated in New Jersey?

Assets that typically go through probate in New Jersey include:

  • Individually owned vehicles and real estate
  • Individual bank and brokerage accounts
  • Personal belongings such as jewelry, artwork, and other valuables
  • Other assets not jointly owned or payable-on-death

If life insurance proceeds are payable to a specific named beneficiary, they don't have to go through probate. If these proceeds are payable to the estate, they must be probated.

Assets in revocable living trusts do not have to pass through probate. Some families choose to use trusts instead of a will to avoid the probate process altogether. If you're considering this option, it's crucial to have an experienced New Jersey wills and trusts lawyer help you set up a trust to ensure all legal requirements are met.

If an executor or administrator is unfamiliar with the probate process, determining which assets should be probated can be confusing. Our probate attorneys in River Edge provide solid legal advice and handle the process from start to finish.

Why Choose Giro & Associates, LLC?

Our estate administration and litigation attorneys provide competent, compassionate legal support for executors, administrators and loved ones of the deceased.

Some of the probate estate administration services we provide include:

  • Guardianship and conservatorship duties
  • Trust litigation
  • Asset ownership disputes
  • Will contests
  • Trust litigation
  • Claims against fiduciaries
  • Business and partnership
  • Appeals of judgments and orders in probate court

Probate can often be a significant emotional and financial burden. We carry the weight of estate administration for grieving families, and hiring an attorney can help save you money and time in the long run. We strive to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible so you can focus on helping each other heal after your loss. The Giro Law & Associates, LLC team understands that time is of the essence when settling estates and works hard to streamline the probate process.

Schedule a Consultation with One of Our Probate Lawyer in New Jersey

If you're feeling overwhelmed by your estate administration duties or you're a beneficiary who needs assistance with probate litigation, the estate planning lawyers at Giro & Associates, LLC can help. To schedule a consultation, contact us today. We're proud to serve families in River Edge, NJ and surrounding areas.

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Giro & Associates, LLC

1060 Main Street, Ste. 303
River Edge, NJ, 07661

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