If you die without a will, that’s called dying “intestate.” So, if that happens, how can your estate be divided up and distributed? Thankfully, New Jersey law has you covered. For now, though, let’s look at how just property are assets in the name of the decedent are handled:
- If you die and leave behind a spouse and children from the same marriage, the spouse then will inherit EVERYTHING (this does not include step children or children from a prior marriage).
- However, if you die and leave behind a spouse and children from a previous marriage, the spouse will only get the first 25% of the estate, but not less than $50,000 or any more than $200,000. They would also get one-half of any balance of the estate, while the balance would be divided equally among the children. Grandchildren, though, will take the share from their deceased parent.
- If you die and leave behind a spouse, a child or children and a stepchild, or any stepchildren, the spouse will get the first 25% of the estate, but not any less than $50,000 or any more than $200,000, plus one-half of any balance of the estate. Children would take the balance of the estate equally, while grandchildren would take the share of their deceased parent, as stated above.
- If you die and leave behind a spouse but no children, and are survived by your parents, the spouse inherits the first 25% of the estate, but not less than $50,000 or more than $200,000, plus three-fourths of any balance of the estate. Your parents would then take the balance equally.
- If you die and are survived by a child or children but no spouse, the children would inherit equally while any grandchildren would take the share of their deceased parent.
- If you die and no immediate family (i.e. spouse, children or grandchildren), your parents will inherit everything. However, if you do not have parents, any siblings you have will inherit equally. Like grandchildren, any nieces and nephews would then take the share of their deceased parent.
- If no immediate family survives, then your property can go to more distant relatives, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Then it may go to stepchildren or can even revert back to the State.
If you or someone you love needs assistance with Elder Care law issues, call 856-281-3131. Let us help ease your stress and give you a plan.