Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries. During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and identifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will. Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place. Simply speak to your attorney to find out what you can do to avoid probate in your area.
If you must probate the will, there are a few NJ regulations to be aware of:
1. the will cannot be probated until 10 full days after the date of death. However, an application for probate can be made earlier. The executor/executrix should contact an attorney or the probate court located in the county of the deceased's residence (see contact information below).
2. the executor/executrix will need to bring a certified copy of the death certificate & addresses of all the next of kin & persons listed in the will with them when probating the will. It is also a good idea to bring a blank check for fees, which will vary by estate.
LOCAL SURROGATE COURTS (WHERE THE WILL IS PROBATED)
Bergen County Surrogate Court (201) 646-2252
Morris County Surrogate Court (973) 285-6500
Ocean County Surrogate Court (732) 929-2011
Passaic County Surrogate Court (973) 881-4760
Sussex County Surrogate Court (973) 579-0920