From the time that your estate’s administrator submits your will to the New Jersey probate court, the process may take up to a year to complete. Depending on the type of property you own and your beneficiaries, however, the procedure may wrap up sooner.
As noted by the Office of Surrogate in Ocean County, the administrator must notify the heirs of a will within 60 days of starting probate. This provides them with ample time to review the contents of your will and, if they find cause, to launch a challenge to its specified asset distribution.
Why would an heir want to contest a will?
Some assets may transfer to your surviving spouse or partner upon death, such as those the two of you own jointly. If your descendants believe, however, that they have a valid right to ownership, they may challenge the transfer through the probate court.
Beneficiaries may also contest your estate’s liabilities. Part of the probate process requires an executor to pay the deceased’s debts and taxes. If it results in less cash available to heirs, they may attempt to contest some payments by claiming they reflect invalid debts.
How long may probate take if I do not have a will?
If you decide not to execute a will in the Garden State, some assets may transfer immediately upon death without probate. A checking, savings or stock brokerage account, for example, may automatically transfer ownership to a named beneficiary. In some cases, you may name an individual or a charitable organization to receive any remaining assets in your account. Real estate property or a business that you wish to transfer without drawing up a will may require detailed estate planning.