New Jersey Probate Attorney
Understanding Probate and Administration Petitions
When an individual passes away, his or her estate is distributed according to a will or trust. The named estate executor handles this distribution of estate assets.
A probate court is petitioned to name an estate administrator if:
- There is no valid will in place at the time of death
- No executor is named
- The named executor is unable or unwilling to step into the role
- There are no named alternate executors to the estate
This petition is referred to as a Letter of Administration Petition. If a loved one of yours has passed away without a will or an able executor named, contact Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Shifman, P.C. for assistance in petitioning your state’s probate court to name an executor and ensure the details of your loved one’s will are carried out.
Commencing the Petitioning and Probate Process
To begin the probate process when no executor is named (or the named executors are either no longer living or are unable or unwilling to take the role), a “Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form” and a “Petition for Letters of Administration” must be filed with your local probate court. This petition can be filed by any creditor of the estate, heirs to the estate or a surviving spouse. If there are named heirs or beneficiaries to the estate, these individuals will be required to agree to the petitioning before the probate and petition process can begin.
Who Will Be Named as the Estate Administrator?
In most cases, the following people – in the order in which they are listed – are eligible to be named by the probate court as the administrator of an estate:
- A surviving spouse
- The deceased’s next of kin – or that individual’s executor
- Creditors of the deceased
- A public administrator named by the court
- Trust companies or national banks – in rare cases in which all other options have proved untenable
The Process of Court Petitioning
Once the petition is filed, a court’s clerk reviews it. Once reviewed and approved by the clerk, any remaining heirs or beneficiaries will be served with the petition and given the chance to approve or dispute the intended proceedings. If they approve the proceedings – or if they fail to respond – the court will move forward with the determination of an estate administrator. In court, a petitioner will address the court, petition for the named administrator and await a ruling. The judge will then name an administrator, issue an Oath of Office to that individual and that individual will move forward with all estate administration activity.
Contact our New Jersey Probate Attorney Today
If your loved one has passed away without a will or a named or able executor, call our New Jersey estate planning attorneys at (908) 561-5577, or contact us online today to get started with the probate process immediately.