Can Creditor’s make a Claim against Joint Account Assets in New Jersey after Death?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a New Jersey Probate Attorney

Recently a New Jersey intestate estate (death without a will or trust) passed under New Jersey law to the surviving spouse.  The decedent owned several joint bank accounts with his wife. The decedent had quite a few debts, including credit card and medical bills.  The question raised is whether non-probate assets are subject to creditor claims or if the estate can be deemed insolvent. 

The answer may surprise you.  Non probate assets are not immune from creditors against an estate of a deceased party to pay debts, taxes, and expenses of administration, if other assets of the estate are insufficient.  A surviving party, P.O.D. payee, or beneficiary who receives payment from a joint-party account after the death of a deceased party shall be responsible to the extent necessary to discharge the claims and debts unpaid by the decedent’s estate.  A proceeding in the Chancery Division of the New Jersey Supreme Court to assert this liability must be commenced no later than 2 years following the death of the decedent.  Sums recovered by the estate representative are to be administered as part of the decedent’s estate. 

If you have any questions regarding New Jersey Probate Law, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. today. He can be reached at toll free 732-863-9900 or by email at Mr. Niemann would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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