If You Die Without a Will, Who Gets Your Estate Under New Jersey Law?

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Probate and Estate Administration Law Firm of Freehold Monmouth County New Jersey

When no will exists, the statutes of New Jersey provide for the distribution of property to heirs, that is, by intestate succession.

How will your property be divided if you have no will? The chart below shows how an estate is distributed in New Jersey if you do not leave a last will.  If you die without a will and are a resident of New Jersey, State law provides the manner for distributing your property.  Your net estate remaining after deduction of debts, taxes and family exemptions, etc., will be distributed to your heirs as follows.

  • Real estate and other property owned jointly by husband and wife is automatically owned by the survivor spouse.
  • Real estate and property with a beneficiary designation goes to the person designated as the beneficiary.
  • A surviving wife or husband receives $50,000 plus one-half of the balance of the probate estate.
  • A child or children receive one half of the probate estate balance divided equally.
  • Grandchildren take their deceased parent’s share of the estate unless all children are deceased, then all grandchildren share equally

In second marriage’s where there is a surviving spouse and a child or children and one or more  children are not the biological children of surviving spouse, then:

  • The surviving wife or husband receives one half of the probate estate;
  • A child receives one half or children receive one half divided equally;
  • Grandchildren take their deceased parent’s share unless all children are deceased, then all grandchildren share equally.

If a person dies leaving a wife or husband but no children or decedents of children but leaves as a survivor;

  • A mother or father, the wife or husband received $50,000 plus one half of balance and the mother and father, or survivor, receives one half of balance
  • If no parent survives, then the wife or husband receives it all.

If a person dies leaving a child or children but no wife or husband:

  • The child or children receive the entire estate divided equally;
  • Grandchildren take their deceased parent’s share unless all children are deceased, then all grandchildren share equally.

If a person dies leaving no wife or husband and no children or decedents but;

  • A mother or father survives, the mother and father, or survivor, receives the entire estate;
  • If no parent survives, then brothers sisters receive all divided equally, nieces and nephews take their deceased parents share unless all brothers and sisters are deceased, then all nieces and nephews share equally.

More remote cases are not covered here.  Remember, the State of New Jersey takes your property if you leave no wife or husband; child or its descendants; parent; brother or sister of their descendants; grandparent; or uncle or aunt or their children; or their grandchildren.

If any person fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes in intestate succession.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey probate estate matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.

 

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