Facilitating a Property Sale After the Loss of a Loved One in NJ

New Jersey Provides Clear Steps for Selling A Deceased Family Member’s Property in Point Pleasant, Brick, Berkeley, Lakewood, and Towns Around New Jersey

Navigating the Sale of a Property After the Owner's Passing in New JerseyEven the simplest of everyday tasks can seem impossible when grief looms like a dark cloud.  Making financial decisions after the loss of a dear one can weigh heavily on the shoulders of those involved.  New Jersey has precise instructions for those who want to sell the property of their deceased family member when a will is in place, there is no will, or the will has been misplaced.  It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, but settling their estate doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task. An estate attorney at Bronzino Law Firm, who also handles extensive real estate legal matters, can provide the assistance needed to avoid tax penalties and other complications.

Selling Property in the Aftermath of Someone’s Death in NJ

The first step is to obtain the will.  Property that is included in the will is referred to as Testate Estate.  If you cannot find the will, or one was never written, the property is deemed an Intestate Estate and will be managed by the probate court.  The court will decide how to distribute the property or the proceeds from its sale.

Once the will is obtained, it should be submitted to the probate court in the county where the property is located.  The court will issue the documentation that allows the executor of the will the authority to list the property, negotiate the sale, and close on the property.  Those documents are the Letters of Administration and a Short Certificate.

The next step is to open a bank account, and once the property is sold, the proceeds will go into that account along with all other funds related to the settlement of the estate.  Tax returns must be completed, and a final balance must be calculated.  The judge handling the estate settling will give their final approval before the inheritors receive the funds due to them.

Here’s What to Do if an Individual Passes Away Without Leaving a Will

To begin, an executor must be named so the estate and all debts and taxes related to the decedent can be divided and justly distributed.  The New Jersey Surrogate Court will appoint the executor.  There is an order of preference used by the court that is as follows:  the surviving spouse, a partner of a civil union, children in order of age from oldest to youngest, grandchildren, parents, brothers or sisters, and nieces or nephews.  Heirs can also choose an executor themselves and present their request through Letters of Administration.

Any property and real estate owned by the spouse is passed to the surviving spouse.  The surviving spouse receives all of the remaining estate when children are born or adopted by the decedent during the marriage.  The surviving spouse is granted 25% of the estate if the children are from another relationship.  The remainder is split 50% – 50% between the surviving spouse and the children.  If there are no children but the decedent’s parents are alive, the surviving spouse gets 25% of the estate.  The remainder is split 75% -25% to the spouse and parents, respectively.  The surviving spouse receives 100% of the estate if there are no surviving parents or children.

Professional Assistance in Estate Management and Inheritance Distribution in NJ

Executors can hire financial specialists and estate attorneys to manage all procedures properly and distribute the inheritance.  A tax accountant can process the tax forms and determine how much must be set aside to pay estate taxes.  A realtor can help stage the house and prepare it for sale to get it on the market as soon as possible. Estate attorneys can provide valuable services to ensure the process is followed properly and for the heirs’ best benefit.

Tax Responsibilities and Strategies for Executors in Estate Administration

The executor is obligated to file the last tax return in the decedent’s name.  The final tax year begins January 1st to the date of death.  The return must be filed by April 15th of the following year.  A six-month extension can be requested as long as the taxes for the extension period are also paid.

Frequently, executors can file a joint tax return with the surviving spouse unless the spouse has remarried before the end of the year.  By filing jointly, they may be placed in a better tax bracket than if they were to file individually.  Also, any capital gains losses can be used to balance the capital gains for the spouse, thereby lowering the tax burden.

Most of the time, an executor will deduct estate administration expenses and losses, such as debts and other expenses, on the estate’s income tax return.  An income tax return must be filed for the estate when it contains $600 or more.

Is There A Waiting Period To Remove a Lien on The House?

Property and inheritance taxes must be paid once the house has been sold.  The executor must file for a tax waiver.  This will release the lien but can take a substantial amount of time. The home can be sold before the lien is removed, and to clear the title, the executor can put an amount equivalent to the taxes owed in escrow to assure buyers that the taxes will be paid.

The tax waiver, once obtained, is proof that the inheritance tax is paid or that no taxes are owed.  This waiver is required to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.

Selling Real Estate Following the Passing of the Owner in New JerseyProcess to Probate a Lost Will

The County Surrogate requires the original will to be submitted for probate.  A copy of the will, or no copy, is considered lost.  Probate law in New Jersey grants permission for lost wills, whether or not it is suspected that the testator purposefully destroyed the document.  If all the beneficiaries (heirs) of the estate agree to probate a copy of the “lost” will, the probating procedures will continue.  If there is discord between the heirs, a judge will analyze the circumstances of each argument to decide whether the will ever existed, was intentionally destroyed, misplaced, or accidentally destroyed.

Our Attorneys Provide Assistance with Real Estate Transactions When the Owner is Deceased in Southern New Jersey

The tax implications, probate process, and sale of the property belonging to someone deceased are highly complex.  The wrong decisions could cost the heirs, the executor, and the estate valuable money and time.  An attorney’s guidance can ensure the deceased person’s plans are followed, and the legal regulations are followed.

At the Bronzino Law Firm, our probate and estate administration attorneys have the empathy and experience you need at this difficult time.  We know your situation is unique and have the skills to offer legal solutions to the complex process of probate and distribution of assets in Rumson, Toms River, Asbury Park, Wall, Lavallette, Long Branch, and other towns in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Our careful attention to detail and knowledge of the law are invaluable resources to respect your loved one’s final wishes.

Call us today at (732) 812-3102 to discuss the many ways our firm can help you during this difficult time.  You can also reach us online.