Distribution of property after the death of an estate owner can be done through probate, and it’s a common proceeding in the state of New Jersey. Probate doesn’t happen in all cases, but it’s something to be aware of. Many people wonder about the average cost of probate in New Jersey, and it’s important to note that cost will widely vary, largely depending on a number of things, including:
Complexity and size of an estate
If heirs contest the Will
Type of Estate Plans
Use (or not) of a probate attorney
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Common Probate Fees in New Jersey
Some fees will be all but guaranteed in probate. These may include:
Miscellaneous court fees
Various filing fees
Any accumulated attorney fees
Surety Bonds (if required; out-of-state Executors will almost certainly need a bond)
Personal Representative compensation - New Jersey sets Executor compensation by statute, ranging from two to five percent
Other various professional fees, as needed
Common Questions About Probate in New Jersey
How Long Does Probate Take in New Jersey?
The whole probate process usually takes less than a year, but Executors must wait at least 10 days after the decedent’s death to begin the process.
What is UPC in New Jersey?
The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) was a national effort to streamline the probate process. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet simplified things as much as it could have. The national standard for probate has only been adopted by 18 states, including New Jersey. Under the code, there are three types of probate proceedings:
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in New Jersey?
Because probate attorney fees in New Jersey can vary, it’s hard to estimate an exact cost. Many probate attorneys will bill by the hour, but some charge a flat fee. New Jersey does not have a statutory formula to factor attorney rates for probate.
How to Avoid Probate in New Jersey?
Many people want to avoid probate in New Jersey, which makes sense. It can be a stressful process. You can potentially avoid probate in New Jersey through any of the following:
Establish a Revocable Living Trust
Title property and assets in Joint Tenancy
Name beneficiary designations
Make accounts and assets TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
New Jersey estates with a value that doesn’t meet or exceed the “small estate” threshold can avoid probate (or go through a shortened version of it).
What is Considered a Small Estate in New Jersey?
There is a summary probate procedure in New Jersey if there’s no Will, the value is less than $20,000 and a surviving spouse will receive everything.
If the estate is valued less than $10,000 and there’s no domestic partner or surviving spouse, one inheritor can file an Affidavit to receive all assets (providing he or she has consent of all other heirs).
Who Pays Probate Fees in New Jersey?
Don’t worry about the cost of probate. Fee associated with the process (even probate lawyer fees in New Jersey) are paid for out of the estate.