Losing a family member could disrupt a household, causing overwhelming stress and grief. Unfortunately, the family could also experience confusion if the deceased has no will.
At this moment, all decisions regarding the estate are up in the air. However, New Jersey’s intestate laws could help divide and distribute the estate fairly. The process will progress depending on the circumstances and the estate’s value.
A surviving spouse or relative could manage asset distribution if the estate’s value does not exceed $50,0000. The local county could appoint an estate administrator based on the situation if it goes beyond this amount.
Estate distribution based on intestate succession
Division and distribution will proceed based on the local intestate succession laws and the deceased’s surviving family:
- A spouse and children: The whole estate goes to the spouse with no posted bond.
- A spouse and children from a previous marriage: The surviving spouse will receive 25% of the estate amount (with a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $200,000) and an additional half of the estate balance. The remaining amount will go to the children or grandchildren of the deceased, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, estate distribution does not include stepchildren in this case.
- A spouse, surviving parents and no children: The surviving spouse will receive 25% of the estate amount (with a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $200,000) and an additional half of the estate balance, while the parents receive the rest.
- Children and no spouse: The children equally split the estate.
- No spouse and children: The next closest kin would receive the estate, potentially the surviving parents. Following the succession will be siblings, then nephews or nieces if there are no surviving parents.
- Spouse and stepchildren: The surviving spouse will receive the whole estate. Stepchildren can only receive the estate if no other surviving direct descendants exist.
Unfortunately, intestate laws do not consider the deceased’s financial obligations before their death. Without a will, these commitments might not get funding from the estate.