Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New Jersey

Rights of Heirs

A relative has died in which an immediate family member is the heir. A cousin has been named executor of the estate. There is also an attorney involved. The heir has not heard from the executor or attorney to date. The family member died in December 2001 in New Jersey. The heir lives in Florida. Is this normal? When should the heir expect to hear from the attorney? Is there a form the heir can send to the attorney requesting an update?

Thanks!

Asked on 4/28/02, 4:34 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Sanford Martin Martin Law Office
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Re: Rights of Heirs

Is the immediate family member a named beneficiary in the will? Has the will been filed? Has the will been admitted to probate? These are the questions you must answer. If the family member is a beneficiary and the will has been admitted to probate, the beneficiary should be notified and served papers as part of the probate process because she/he is an interested party. She can check with the clerk of court in the county of the deceased to determine the answer to these questions or call the attorney.

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4/28/02, 7:43 pm
Karen Spigler Law Firm of Karen Spigler, LLC
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Re: Rights of Heirs

The best approach is by having the beneficiary write a letter to the attorney to find out the status of the estate.

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4/28/02, 8:47 pm
Greg Snell Rice Rose & Snell
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Re: Rights of Heirs

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED BY NOW. CALL THE ATTORNEYS OFFICE TO GET AN UPDATE. IF YOU CANNOT GET THE ATTORNEY, CALL THE CLERK'S OFFICE IN THE COUNTY WHERE THE PERSON PASSED AWAY, ASK FOR THE PROBATE DIVISION AND SEE IF AN ESTATE HAS BEEN FILED.

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4/30/02, 6:05 am
Jonathan Chester Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.
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Re: Rights of Heirs

You say that someone was appointed as executor. Are you sure of this? If so, then the heir should have received "Notice of Probate" within 60 days of the date of Probate, and is entitled by law to be provided with a copy of the Will.

As a beneficiary, I would be worried if I had not heard anything four months after decedent's death. I think it might be helpful to have a New Jersey attorney look into the status of the estate administration before this goes too much further.

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4/29/02, 9:04 am

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