Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New Jersey

Small estate Probate in Middlesex County, NJ

Mother passed away leaving a will naming two sons as executors and to "share and share alike" her assets after payment of funeral expenses. Funeral expense has been paid. No other outstanding bills.

A small life insurance policy names both sons as beneficiars. No other assets.

Relationship between brothers is greed factor involved.

Because the estate is so small, how may we probate the will in Middlesex County, NJ without an attorney. (sorry)

House is worth approx $70,000 and is in the mother's name. Brothers have no problem with keeping the house and allowing the elder brother to continue living there as long as he wants.

Small bank account already has the two sons names on it as well as the deceased mother's name.

Asked on 10/08/00, 8:44 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jonathan Chester Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.

Re: Small estate Probate in Middlesex County, NJ

Although everything seems to be working out well, I would still suggest that you have a lawyer help you with this estate. The estate appears fairly simple, so legal advice will not cost much, but it can avoid potential problems, misunderstandings and expenses in the future.

The real estate arraingement (divided ownership) is usually fraught with problems...You indicate that one sibling wants to live in the home

1. for how long?

2. who pays the real estate expenses?

3. how about necessary maintenance? will these things be done to your satisfaction?

4. who pays the taxes, insurance, etc.?

5. if you want to sell but sibling does not, what happens?

You should also be careful not to co-mingle estate assets and your own individual assets. You will also need to prepare a new deed for the home.

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Answered on 11/06/00, 9:33 am

Robert Gleaner Robert A. Gleaner, P.C.

Re: Small estate Probate in Middlesex County, NJ

Most of the time, when an attorney has answered a question on LawGuru before I see it, if I agree with the advice, I do not answer it myself. Although my colleague from Summit has already answered this question (and I concur with his opinion), I need to comment. It always amazes me that people look at a situation and come to a conclusion that they don't need an attorney, yet they are asking the attorney questions to allow them to do the work. When someone asks me if they need an attorney, I ask them if they would do their own brain surgery if they needed the operation. The answer is always, "if you can do it yourself, go ahead and do it. If you need to ask questions on how to do it, you obviously can't do it yourself, so you need a lawyer." The fact that you're asking so many questions about the process should reveal to you that you need someone to help you. I would suggest you find an attorney in the Middlesex County area. Good luck! Rob Gleaner

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Answered on 11/13/00, 11:52 am

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