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What happens if you die without a will in New Jersey?

If you should die without a will in NJ, also known as intestate, the State of New Jersey has precise guidelines for dividing your estate. While these rules might result in a fair distribution of your assets, the outcome may not be what you would have preferred.

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In any case, having a reliable, well-conceived Last Will and Testament created with the help of a knowledgeable New Jersey estate attorney can eliminate confusion later and ensure that your estate will be divided as you wish.

And, as circumstances change, you can quickly amend your will to reflect different priorities.

Assets Not Impacted by Intestate Succession

Some assets pass automatically to designated beneficiaries, even if no will exists. These could include life insurance policies, living trusts, payable-on-death bank accounts, joint tenancy properties, or retirement investment accounts that specifically name an individual or individuals as beneficiaries.

Assets in your name alone, however, will need to undergo statute mandated distribution if no will exists.

New Jersey Intestate Succession Guidelines

If you neglect to create a will in NJ, the following intestate succession rules determine how your other assets will be distributed.

To begin, if you are married without a will, what passes to your spouse may  depend on whether you also have children, or grandchildren. If no offspring from another relationship, or marriage have survived you, your spouse will receive 100% of your intestate property.

Potential Scenarios:

  • If you have descendants, but no spouse, the descendants will split the assets evenly.
  • If you have a spouse and descendants with the spouse, the spouse will receive 100%.
  • If you die with a spouse and descendants from the relationship, and the spouse also has dependents from another relationship, the spouse will receive:
    • 25% of your intestate property value, but no less than $50,000 up to $200,000.
    •  After $200,000, the spouse will receive 50% of the balance of the value of the intestate property.
    • Your descendants inherit all that remains.
  • If you die with a spouse and descendants from the relationship, plus descendants from another relationship, your spouse will receive:
    • 25% of your intestate property, but no less than $50,000 up to $200,000.
    •  After $200,000, the spouse will receive 50% of the balance of the value of the intestate property.
    • All descendants inherit what remains.
  • If you die while parents are living, but no spouse or dependents, your parents will receive 100%.
  • If you have no spouse, descendants, nor living parents, your assets will be split among siblings.

Further, if you have no living spouse, parents, siblings, or offspring, your grandchildren will split the estate evenly.

Finally, if you have no will nor spouse, parents, descendants, nor siblings, your estate could end up in the state’s Treasury. However, the laws endeavor to have your assets pass on to someone in every case. In the absence of closer relatives, the assets could even pass to aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews, or cousins of any degree.

Estate and Will Consultation: Contact Nicholas A. Giuditta III Law Offices

No matter where you happen to be in life’s journey, creating a valid will in NJ with the help of an experienced Will and Estate Lawyer is an important step. And, keeping your will updated will deliver your desired results without having to guidelines.

Located in Westfield, New Jersey, serving Union County and beyond, the Law Offices of Nicholas A. Giuditta III offer professional and compassionate support to ensure your estate will be handled appropriately after you are gone.

For a consultation regarding your estate and setting up a will in NJ, contact the office of Nicholas A. Giuditta III in Westfield at 908-232-0099.

Alternatively, leave a message on our website, and one of our professionals will promptly contact you.