New Jersey Probate Lawyer
Probate & Estates
Probate is a legal process that takes place in the Surrogate Court after a person dies. The deceased’s will is submitted to the Court, and a personal representative is named to guide the estate through the probate process.
While a lot of different things about elder law can be more than a little mystifying for most people, Probate is probably high up on the list of things that simply make no sense if you are not already familiar with the term and the process it involves. As such, we thought we would use this space to pull back the curtain and take away some of the mystery behind the probate process and how it can and does relate to estates. Our goal here is to help you to better understand the complexities of the probate process and be better equipped to handle each and every step along the way.
For some families, probate is a relatively simple and harmless experience. Claims are paid and assets get distributed in a matter of months. For others, however, probate can quickly spiral out of control. Many disputes can arise during probate, and the estate’s representative would benefit from a lawyer’s perspective. Call Scott Counsel, P.C. to speak with a New Jersey probate lawyer.
With that difference in mind, let’s quickly run through some potential questions you may have about the probate process and how it relates to estates:
- Perhaps first and foremost, what is the probate process?
- How does the probate process relate to debts and taxes?
- How does the probate process relate to the government?
- Can I avoid the probate process altogether?
- If so, how do I do that?
- How do I transfer assets in the probate process?
Personal Representative Disputes
Some disagreements erupt over who should serve in this capacity. Personal representatives play a major role in probate:
- Gather all estate assets.
- Keep estate assets safe, such as by purchasing insurance or storing them.
- Pay, settle, or reject claims submitted against the estate.
- Represent the estate in litigation as either plaintiff or defendant.
When there is no will, some family members disagree about who the Surrogate Court should appoint to serve.
The Surrogate Court will only accept a valid will. Many disagreements arise over whether the will follows New Jersey’s requirements, or whether the deceased had sufficient capacity at the will’s creation. We can represent either the personal representative who is defending the will or heirs who want to challenge it.
Disputes Involving Claims
The estate must pay off debts before distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries. Some disagreements arise over whether a claim is valid.
Collection & Safekeeping of Estate Assets
Not all assets are near at hand. For example, the deceased might have lent a car to someone who doesn’t want to return it. The representative might need to file a legal action to obtain possession of estate assets. Keeping the property safe is also key, since some assets are at risk of declining in value. We can help purchase insurance or properly store items so they are safe.
The personal representative owes duties to all beneficiaries, including duties to exercise care and avoid self-dealing. For example, the personal representative cannot purchase estate assets themselves at below market values. They also can’t invest assets in a risky manner which causes them to decline in value before they are distributed to beneficiaries.
Some disappointed heirs could sue the representative for failing to properly keep assets safe or for some other misconduct. They usually seek money damages as compensation. We can represent either side in this type of dispute.
New Jersey does not require that personal representatives work for free. Instead, they are entitled to a percent of any income generated by the estate, as well as a percentage of the estate. Nevertheless, arguments can break out when the personal representative actually tries to get paid.
Let Us Advise You
Here at Scott Counsel, we take pride not only in the quality of our work, but also in how that quality trickles down into every single aspect of the firm itself. When you walk through the doors of our firm, we want the Scott Counsel difference to be instantly recognizable. We want it to feel different because we ourselves do things a little differently.
Most of all, we want you to feel valued. We put people first here, and we think that makes all the difference in the world. When people feel valued, they feel a sense of security, and we take pride in being able to provide that to each and every single client or potential client. If you’re coming back to us again, we welcome you back with open arms. If you’re checking us out for the first time, you need to know that you are just as welcome here. We want those who choose Scott Counsel to rest easy and know that, while the road ahead may not be straight or easy, it will not be impossible either. So, no matter if you are new or returning or this is your first time visiting our site, it doesn’t matter.
Again, what we believe sets us apart is our desire to put people first, and for you, or anyone else who walks through our doors, that is exactly what we aim to do. In doing so, we can not only meet the specific needs of you and your family, but we can do it better, perhaps than other law firms you may have previously looked into or visited. At Scott Counsel, we believe that people have had enough of things they don’t understand, we believe that people want and deserve better from those they enlist to help them. And at Scott Counsel, better is exactly what we strive for.
The probate lawyers at Scott Counsel know their way around the Surrogate Court. We can advise you of your rights and file a lawsuit, if necessary, to seek an appropriate remedy when your rights are violated. We have helped personal representatives, disappointed heirs, and other interested parties in a variety of probate disputes. Contact us today by calling (856) 485-4585.
– When my son, who has Cystic Fibrosis and CF related diabetes, was suddenly and unexpectedly removed from his Medicaid program, we were devastated and frightened not knowing where we would get the resources to pay for his extremely high priced prescriptions. Justin was the attorney who handled our case. From the very beginning, he proved to be very thorough and experienced with navigating the process of reversing the Medicaid decision. However, it was his apparent kind, caring nature that made us feel the most at ease. Justin was successful in securing a continuation of benefits for my son, and we are extremely grateful for having his expertise during this most stressful ongoing process. Thank you, Justin!
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