New Jersey offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.
Simplified Probate Procedures
New Jersey has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.
You can use the simplified small estate process in New Jersey if:
- There is no valid will and the value of all property doesn't exceed $20,000. The surviving spouse or domestic partner is entitled to all of it without probate, but he or she is responsible for using all of it except for $5,000 to pay any creditors with valid claims. The request must state the deceased person's residence and it must describe the nature, location, and value of the real and personal property owned by the deceased person. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 3B:10-3.
- There is no valid will, the value of all property doesn't exceed $10,000, and there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner. One heir, with the written consent of the others, can file an affidavit with the court and receive all the assets. The request must state the names, addresses, and relationships of all heirs. It must also describe the nature, location, and value of the real and personal property owned by the deceased person. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 3B:10-4.
For More Information
For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).