While many New Jersey residents try to avoid probate, for many others, executing a will that goes through the formal estate administration process is their best step.
Even for people who have a more complicated estate plan may contemplate a more streamlined probate for their assets that are not going to pass through a trust or other estate planning vehicle.
In general, the probate process can take anywhere from a few months to about 2 years. During this time, the court will approve the will and will appoint the personal representative.
The personal representative will then have to follow the legal process of notifying and paying off creditors and then distributing the assets. There are several reports the personal representative will have to file, and he or she will also have to do a final accounting.
The New Jersey probate process can take longer in some circumstances
On average, New Jersey probate administration follows the general trend. For relatively simple estates, it is realistic that the estate will close within 1 year.
Cases that qualify for administration under a special provision designed for small estates may be able to wrap up an estate in a much shorter time.
On the other hand, an estate with lots of assets can take longer, even more than 2 years, to administer.
If there is a legal conflict, for example, between family members or with creditors, then an estate can get tied up in a costly probate battle for years. As a word of warning, though, litigation is possible even when a resident’s estate plan is designed to avoid probate.
The advice and experience of a probate attorney can help make the administration process more efficient.