After a person dies, ownership of his or her property, assets and personal effects must be passed on to the beneficiaries listed in the Will. If there is no Will, the persons receiving assets are designated by State law. "Probate" is the legal name given to this process.

First, the Will must be verified as the valid, final dispositive statement of the decedent (the official record of the deceased person's final wishes). The Will generally names the person or institution appointed to manage the probate estate process. When there is no valid Will, State law governs who receives the assets of the deceased. The term "probate" is also used in the larger sense of "probating the estate".

Probate is the legal process by which:

  • An Executor or Administrator, who takes over the deceased affairs and property, is appointed by a Court;
  • The heirs are identified and located;
  • The deceased's property/assets are gathered and accounted for;
  • The deceased's debts and creditors are paid;
  • Any income tax and estate tax returns are filed and the taxes paid;
  • The estate assets and property are sold to create cash to pay bills, taxes and expenses of the estate.
  • Payment and distribution is made of all remaining property, assets and cash to the approved heirs and beneficiaries.

Our Paramus, New Jersey firm provides legal services dedicated to estate planning, estate administration, and the related tax considerations of each. We invite you to contact our Bergen County firm to arrange your consultation today.