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Probate / Estate Administration

When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed.   The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate. 

Every probate estate is unique, but most involve the following steps:

  • Probating a Will.
  • Notice to heirs.
  • Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
  • Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
  • Sale of estate assets. 
  • Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does probate administer all property of the deceased?

Probate is primarily a process through which title is transferred from the name of the deceased to the names of the beneficiaries. 

Certain types of assets are what is called “non-probate assets” do not go through probate.  These include:

  • Property in which you own title as “joint tenants with right of survivorship”.  Such property passes to the co-owners by operation of law and do not go through probate.
  • Retirement accounts such as IRA and 401(k) accounts where there are designated beneficiaries.
  • Life insurance policies.
  • Bank accounts with “pay on death” (POD) designations or “in trust for” designations.
  • Property owned by a living trust.  Legal title to such property passes to successor trustees without having to go through probate.


Do I get paid for serving as an Executor?

Executors are reimbursed for all legitimate out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the process of management and distribution of the deceased estate.  In addition, you may be entitled to statutory fees, which vary on the size of the probate estate.  The Executor has to fulfill his or her fiduciary duties on behalf of the estate with the highest degree of integrity and can be held liable for mismanagement of estate assets in his or her care.  It is advised that the Executor retain an attorney and an accountant to advise and assist him with his or her duties.

How much does probate cost?  How long does it take?

The cost and duration of probate can vary substantially depending on a number of factors such as the value and complexity of the estate, the existence of a Will and the location of real property owned by the estate.  Will contests or disputes with alleged creditors over the debts of the estate can also add significant cost and delay.  Common expenses of an estate include executors fees, attorneys fees, accounting fees, court fees, appraisal costs, and surety bonds. 


Pisciotta and Menasha LLC assist clients with Estate Planning, Advanced Estate Planning, Elder Law, Estate Litigation, Special Needs Planning and Real Estate in North Brunswick, NJ as well as Milltown, Somerset, Franklin Park, Kendall Park, East Brunswick, Highland Park, Monmouth Junction, South River, Dayton, Edison, New Brunswick, South Brunswick, Spotswood, Piscataway, Sayreville, Zarephath, South Bound Brook, Manville, Belle Mead, Kingston, Rocky Hill, Metuchen, Old Bridge, South Plainfield, Parlin, Hillsborough, Bridgewater, Monroe, Plainsboro and Dunellen in Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Glouster, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties.



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