Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500
www.njlaws.com

Friday, November 9, 2018

Probate and Estate Administration in New Jersey


Probate and Estate Administration in New Jersey
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION OF AN ESTATE
NJ PROBATE PROCEDURES Although New Jersey probate procedures vary from county to county, all Surrogate's Courts are governed by the New Jersey Court Rules. In New Jersey probate is usually simple, swift and inexpensive. It is not a process to be avoided. Source https://www.njlaws.com/probatenj.htm
FILING A PROBATE APPLICATION Upon the death of a person, a probate proceeding may be commenced by offering the decedent's (the dead person's ) last Will for probate in the Surrogate's Court of the county in which the decedent was domiciled at death. R. 4:80-1(a). Generally, the Executor nominated in the Will brings the proceeding by filing a verified application with the Court.
The probate application must contain the following information:
1. the applicant's residence;
2. the name, domicile and date of death of the decedent;
3. the names and addresses of the decedent's spouse, heirs (those entitled to take under the laws of interstate succession), and any person named to serve as Executor;
4. the ages of any minor heirs; and
5. the names of the testator's children when the Will was made and the names of children born and adopted after the Will was made, or their children, if any.
To minimize time spent in the Surrogate's Court, it is recommended, and in some counties required, that before an Executor submits the Will for probate the applicant send the Court:
1) a "data sheet" (referred to in some counties as an "information sheet" or a "fact sheet") containing the information needed by the Court to complete the application;
2) a copy of the Will; and
3) a copy of the death certificate.
When the applicant files the original Will for probate, the applicant must also file a death certificate (and original with a raised seal). A filing fee of approximately $150 must be paid. Once the Will, application and death certificate are filed, the Surrogate will review the papers, and if there are no irregularities or objections, admit the Will to probate. Although New Jersey law prohibits admission of a Will to probate within 10 days of the testator's death, an applicant may submit the application prior to expiration of the 10-day period. If the Will is filed after the 10-day waiting period, many Courts will issue a judgment for probate contemporaneously with the filing of the probate papers.
Qualifying the Executor
Once the Will is admitted to probate, the Court will issue letters testamentary to an Executor who has properly qualified to serve. An Executor named in a Will qualifies to serve by filing a form affidavit in which the Executor agrees to perform his or her duties. The nominated Executor must also provide a power of attorney to the Surrogate empowering the Surrogate to accept service of process of claims against the estate. Once the Executor qualifies, the Court then issues letters testamentary.
Mailing Probate Notices
After a Will is admitted to probate, the Executor must mail within 60 days a notice of probate to the decedent's spouse, heirs and all beneficiaries under the Will. The notice of probate should contain the executor's name and address, place and date that the Will was probated, and an offer to furnish a copy of the Will upon request. Within 10 days of mailing the notice the Executor should file proof of service of the notice with the Surrogate's Court. Once notice of probate has been sent and proof of mailing has been filed the probate process is essentially completed.
Completing the probate process should cause only minimal delay, perhaps a few weeks, in administering a decedent's affairs. The cost of admitting a Will to probate should be limited. Unlike in some other states, the Surrogate's filing fee in New Jersey is the same regardless of the size of the estate. See Zimiles "Probate is not a Dirty word in New Jersey" N.J. Lawyer pg. 14 ( July/August 1992)
What is meant by "probate ?"
Upon the death of the testator or testatrix (maker of the Will), the probate procedure can begin. This is the legal process which establishes the genuineness of the Will. It is done by the Surrogate in the county where the testator or testatrix resided at the time of death. Although the process can begin at any time, the Surrogate cannot issue letters until the 11th day after the death of the decedent.
How do I begin the probate procedure?
The Executor or personal representative can be appointed and the Will admitted to probate in most cases by going to the Surrogate's Court with the original Will, certified death certificate, and, if the Will is not self-proven, at least one of the witnesses who signed the Will must prove the signature on the Will.
How is an administrator appointed when there is no Will?
When there is no Will, an administrator, administratrix or personal representative is appointed by the Surrogate's Court. The surviving spouse has the first right to apply for the position of administrator; however, any heir of the decedent may be appointed. When one of several heirs seeks to be appointed administrator, all other heirs must renounce their right to be appointed administrator. In most cases, a surety bond must be furnished to cover the value of the real and personal property in the estate.
What kind of information should I collect?
The decedent's personal representative should make a list of all of the next of kin of the person who died, along with their degree of relationship, addresses and ages.
What if the Will is not properly executed?
The Surrogate will advise the personal representative as to the proper procedure in order to allow the Will to be admitted to probate. This procedure normally involves a formal hearing before a Judge of the Superior Court.
How soon must state inheritance taxes be paid?
State inheritance tax returns must be filed and the tax paid within eight (8) months after decedent's death to avoid interest.
Are unpaid inheritance taxes a lien on property?
Yes, to sell real estate, you Will need to obtain "tax waivers" from the New Jersey State Transfer Inheritance 'Tax Bureau, and the waivers must be filed with the County Clerk in the county where the land is located. Land held by husband and wife as "tenants by the entirety" need not be reported and may be transferred without a waiver. Other property may be subject to a lien for unpaid inheritance taxes such as bank accounts and certificates of deposit.
How about federal estate taxes?
Under present law, there is no federal tax due unless the estate exceeds $11,500,000.00.
There is also an unlimited federal marital deduction, which means unlimited amounts of property can be transferred between spouses without estate of gift taxes.
How many Surrogate's Certificates ("Shorts") Will I need?
A list of all of the assets of the estate should also be prepared to help determine the number of Surrogate's Certificates that must be issued by the probate clerk in the Surrogate's Office.
When is the Will admitted to probate?
After all the proper forms are filed with the probate clerk, the clerk will prepare a judgment which admits the Will to probate. The Surrogate then signs the judgment and issues "Letters Testamentary."
What are Surrogate's Certificates used for?
Surrogate's Certificates act as evidence of the authority of the personal representative ( Executor, Administrator, Trustee ) to act. These certificates are necessary to accomplish certain tasks such as transferring stocks, closing bank accounts, etc.
Is it necessary to send copies of the Will to the beneficiaries?
From the time the Will is probated, the Executer has 60 days to mail all beneficiaries a copy of the Will, along with a notice giving the specific date and place the Will was entered into probate.
Basically, what is the Executor/Administrator required to do?
The Executor or Administrator is, in general, required to collect and safeguard all of the assets of the estate and eventually to pay the debts of the decedent, as well as any taxes due, and be able to provide an accounting of his actions to the beneficiaries or heirs. An Executor or Administrator must obtain the necessary legal documents, called either LETTERS TESTAMENTARY (for an Executor) or LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION (for an Administrator), are obtained through the Surrogate in the county in which the DECEDENT (the deceased person) resided at the time of death.
The duties of the personal representative include:
* - finding the Will and having it PROBATED. Probate is the legal procedure used to establish the validity of a Will.
* - locating and protecting the assets of the estate.
* - finding and notifying the heirs.
* - paying the debts, expenses, and taxes of the estate from the assets of the estate.
* - complying with the requirements of state and federal law.
* - distributing property to the heirs after all proper procedures have been followed.
Is an attorney necessary in estate administration?
As a practical matter, it is very difficulty for a nonlawyer to correctly follow the required procedures in administering an estate without the assistance of an attorney. The personal representative selects the attorney for the estate. You may wish to call your attorney to give you further advice as to specific duties and obligations.
Where does the Executor/Administrator obtain the funds to pay debts?
The Executor may, in most cases, withdraw up to one-half of the funds in the decedent's New Jersey bank accounts. Generally, the Executor should open an estate checking account which can be used to receive and disburse funds.
Am I entitled to compensation for acting as Executor or Administrator?
An Executor or Administrator is entitled to corpus commissions of 5% of the first $200,000.00 of estate assets subject to administration, 3-1/2% on the excess over $200,000.00 up to $1,000,000.00 and 2% or such other percentage as the Court may determine on the excess over $1,000,000.00.
If there is more than one Executor or Administrator, an additional 1% corpus commission may be allowed by the Court for each additional Executor or Administrator.
In addition to corpus commissions, an Executor or Administrator is entitled to income commissions of 6% of income earned on estate corpus during the administration of the estate.
What do I do about a safe deposit box in the name of the decedent ?
Individuals generally keep their Will in their safe deposit box. The personal representative is permitted to remove the original Will, as well as a deed to a cemetery plot and certain life insurance policies from the decedent's safe deposit box before probate without a representative of the Inheritance Tax Bureau present. Thereafter, the box is sealed until the District Supervisor of the New jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax Bureau opens and makes an inventory of the contents of the box. It is the responsibility of the personal representative to contact the District Supervisor of the county in which the box is located to arrange for an appointment for this inventory.
How do I handle joint bank accounts or certificates of deposit?
Certain bank accounts and certificates may be owned with rights of survivorship, which means that upon the death of one party to the account, the surviving party (or parties) become the sole owner (or owners). If the decedent maintained such an account, the survivor Will be able to withdraw one-half of the funds in the account by giving the bank a Death Certificate and without the need to provide anything from the Surrogate. The other half will not be released until a tax waiver is issued by the New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax Bureau, normally after the tax is paid and the return is filed.
Is all this paperwork necessary even on small estates?
There is a procedure whereby the assets of small estates can be transferred to the surviving spouse without the necessity of administration. The spouse files an affidavit stating, among other things, that the decedent had no Will and that all of the real and personal assets of the decedent do not exceed $10,000.
How about small estates with no surviving spouse?
A similar procedure is used when the decedent dies without a Will and leaves no surviving spouse but does leave next of kin. In such a case, if the total value of the real and personal property of the decedent does not exceed $5,000.00, one of the next of kin with consent of the others may file an affidavit in lieu of administration.
How can I protect myself from creditors after the estate is settled?
It may be advisable for the Executor to obtain an order requiring public notice to creditors of the decedent requiring them to present their claims within six months from the time of the order. The notice is published by the Surrogate. The Executor may then act in reliance upon the belief that all creditors have presented claims within that period. If claims are made, the Executor does not have to automatically accept the claims but can dispute them and has three months to make any decisions.
How do I prove that legacies were paid?
The Executor has a duty to pay the legacies or distribute shares as provided for under the Will; however, when he /she does so, he/she must take a Release and Refunding Bond from the person taking the share. The Refunding Bond is then forwarded to the Surrogate for filing and recording.
What if there is no Will?
If the decedent dies without a Will (intestate), there is a statute which determines to whom the decedent's property is to be distributed according to the degree of family relationship.
Without a Will, how much is the surviving spouse entitled to?
In New Jersey, in typical cases where there is a surviving spouse and children(all of whom are also the children of the surviving spouse), the spouse is entitled to the first $50,000.00 of the estate and any amount over $50,000.00 is divided equally between the children and the spouse.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

South Plainfield Wills, Estate Planning, & Probate Seminar

South Plainfield Public Library 
Wills, Estate Planning & Probate Seminar
December 6 at 7pm
Free community program 
South Plainfield Public Library 
2484 Plainfield Avenue 
South Plainfield, NJ 07080       

You do not need to be a resident to attend
SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, NJ (Author- Wills and Estate Administration by the ABA) 
       The NJ Probate Law made a number of substantial changes in Probate and the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey. 

Main Topics:
1. NJ Estate Tax eliminated on Estates under $5,600,000 as of January 1, 2018 & Veterans Tax credit
2. 2018 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax  
3. The new Digital Fiduciary Act & New law permits Executor to resign if all parties consent
4. Power of Attorneys                                                                          
5.  Living Will                                                                                              
6.  Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate
      COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts. 
    For information the call the Library 908-754-7885

VFW Asbury Park Wills, Estate Planning, & Probate Seminar


Veterans and seniors invited to
VFW Asbury Park Post 1333
Wills, Estate Planning & Probate Seminar
November 28, 2018 at 6pm 
       WILLS & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION-PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND MAKE PLANNING EASY Free program open to the public, you do not need to be a Township resident to attend
SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, NJ (Author- Wills and Estate Administration by the ABA) 
Member Edison American Legion SOL and Life Member, VFW Auxiliary 
        Main Topics:
1.NJ Estate Tax eliminated on Estates as of January 1, 2018 & 2018 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax  
2.  NJ Veterans Tax exemption of up to $3,000
3. The New Probate Law and preparation of Wills    
4. Power of Attorney & concerns for Veteran’s families
5.  Living Wills       
6. Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate    
    The NJ Probate Law made a number of substantial changes in Probate and the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.
COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts. 
Can’t attend?  We can email you materials
Send email to VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com
If an Veterans or Senior Group wishes to have a speaker on Wills and Probate, please email 
 VFW Asbury Park Post # 1333 [Regular meeting is 7pm]
701 Lake Ave.
P.O. Box 693
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
732-988-3440

Friday, October 26, 2018

Kenneth Vercammen of Edison has been appointed Chair of the ABA Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Committeeof the ABA Solo Division for the 2018- 2019 by Division Chair Melanie Bragg.

Kenneth Vercammen of Edison has been appointed Chair of the ABA Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Committeeof the ABA Solo Division for the 2018- 2019 by Division Chair Melanie Bragg.
 Kenneth Vercammen is an attorney in Edison, NJ. He is the author of the ABA book “Wills and Estate Administration”
He is a speaker for the NJ State Bar Association at the annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law & Estate Administration program.  He is admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States.
He was Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter. Mr. Vercammen has published over 150 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on Wills, litigation, estates, probate law and trial topics. 
He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation and probate law for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, NJ State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He established the NJlaws website www.njlaws.comwhich includes many articles on Estate Planning, Probate and Wills.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sayreville Wills & Power of Attorney Seminar

Press release
Sayreville Public Library
Wills & Power of Attorney Seminar 
November 13, 2018 at 6:30pm

Open to the public. You do not need to be a resident.

SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, (Author- ABA’s “Wills and Estate Administration book”)

Main Topics:
 1. NJ Estate Tax eliminated on Estates under $5,400,000 as of January 1, 2018 & Veterans Tax credit
2. 2018 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax  
   3. The new Digital Fiduciary Act & New law permits Executor to resign if all parties consent
4. Power of Attorneys       
5.  Living Will           
6.  Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate
      
        COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.
        Sayreville Public Library 732-727-0212 ex. 25
Open to the public. You don’t have to be a Sayreville resident to attend.
Sayreville Public Library 1050 Washington Road Parlin NJ 08859
732.727.0212 ext.25

Can’t attend? We can email you materials Send email to VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com

Free Will Seminars and Speakers Bureau for Groups 
        To schedule a free Legal Seminars, contact our Coordinator, Kenneth Vercammen's law office at (732) 572-0500, email VercammenLaw@njlaws.com  


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Spotswood Library Wills, Estate Planning & Probate Seminar October 18, 2018

Spotswood Library
Wills, Estate Planning & Probate Seminar
October 18, 2018 at 2pm 
       WILLS & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION-PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND MAKE PLANNING EASY Free program open to the public, you do not need to be a Township resident to attend
     SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, NJ (Author- Wills and Estate Administration by the ABA)
          Main Topics:
 1. NJ Estate Tax eliminated for 2018 & NJ Veterans Tax exemption of up to $3,000
2. The 2018 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax  
3. The new Digital Fiduciary Act & New law permits Executor to resign if all parties consent
4. Power of Attorneys    
5.  Living Will          
6.  Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate
7. Avoiding unnecessary expenses
COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.
Spotswood Library
548 Main Street
Spotswood, NJ 08884
 (732) 251-1515
 clquillen@spotslibrary.org 
https://www.facebook.com/events/2000158196942290/

Friday, October 12, 2018

ABA Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Committee Solo Small Firm Division and ABA Solo ElderLaw Committee GP Solo Small Firm Division From Kenneth Vercammen, Esq., Chair, Edison, NJ A reminder, the next ABA Law and Aging Networking call is October 15, 2018

For members of ABA Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Committee Solo Small Firm Division and ABA Solo ElderLaw Committee GP Solo Small Firm Division
  From Kenneth Vercammen, Esq., Chair, Edison, NJ
A reminder, the next ABA Law and Aging Networking call is October 15, 2018Monday at 2:00 PM Eastern.  

Quarterly ABA Law and Aging Networking Call
October 15, 2018
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern time
Call in number:
866-646-6488
Conference code: 864 935 2408
The Goal of these calls is to provide a forum for ABA Entities to talk about programs, publications, or policy in age related issues:
    Topics for October:
National Aging and Law Conference
Senior Lawyers Division Programs and Publications
         Home page for Community
         Coming events
         Launch date - TBD - Soon.
Some Names are starting to load into the new ABA Connected Community system, a couple of you have likely received two copies of this message.  The ABA will move to that system as soon as all of the email addresses sync.  
If you log onto your ABA member profile, and look at My Communities you will see it listed.  The notes from the July call are in the library (and attached.)

  These calls are open to ABA Members and Staff with an interest in developing programing, policy or publications on issues relating to aging and law.  Please share this message with colleagues who may want to participate and encourage people to email me to be added to the invitation list (david.godfrey@americanbar.org<mailto:david.godfrey@americanbar.org>.)
   Please send Dave any items you would like to add to the agenda (David.Godfrey@Americanbar.org)
David Godfrey
Senior Attorney
American Bar Association
Commission on Law and Aging
1050 Connecticut Ave NW #400
Washington, DC 20036
202-662-8694

Prior call notes:
Call Summary 
July 9, 2018
2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern time
Our goal is to provide a forum for ABA Entities to talk about programs, publications, or policy in age related issues:
         ABA Policy Proposals in development for ABA Annual Meeting
         Upcoming training on age related topics or issues 
         Publications 
         Other planned programing on age related topics or issues 
Upcoming highlights:
2018 National Aging and Law Conference – agenda released, registration open www.ambar.org/NALC
·      National Aging and Law Conference 2018, October 25-26th, Alexandria, VA 
         Detailed Agenda is online,
         Registration is open – 52 people have registered so far with a goal of 300. 
·      Separate skills based pre-conference on the 24th– COLA fall commission meeting on October 24th, at the host hotel. 
·      COLA quarterly webinar series is done for the fiscal year, I am always looking for issues and speakers. 
·      Policy resolutions:
·      The Commission’s is a joint resolution with SIL stating: 
Organization of American States Convention as an instructive precedent.

Long history to get here, builds on existing ABA policy in urging moving forward with drafting.  SIL is co-sponsoring.  Family Law is supporting.  SLD – is likely to support.  

·      Status of the Commission on Law and Aging 
o  Proposal was to zero out, resulting in an 85% cut in general revenue. We do have an endowment that will hold us for at least a couple of years.  Seeking creative ideas on sustainability.  
  • New smartphone app for storing one’s advance directives and related medical information, called Mind Your Loved Ones.  This is a new revamped version of the app we previously distributed that was called My Health Care Wishes.  The ABA’s name will be on the app and it will be sold on a subscription basis.  Bulk sales to law firms will be available to enable them to give free download codes to clients.  The regular price will be $3.99 for one-year subscription.
  • Hartford Foundation funded project to develop an advance care planning tool for lawyers that better aligns the way lawyers and clinicians support advance care planning.  Will result in a set of principles, a lawyer’s checklist, and a compilation of resources.  Likely available in September.

SLD is seeking two additional seats in the House, due to size and number of new activities that SLD is undertaking.  1/3 of the paid membership of ABA is in SLD. 
SLD, Jack – draft report from Opioid summit, 30 pages, will be reported at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.  Follow up steps, series of policy proposals will be developed for mid year and following annual. 
Emily – Webinar on closing your law firm, this Wednesday. Annual meeting Pickering award Thursday.  


Kenneth Vercammen

ABA Estate Planning, Probate and Trust and Elder Law Joint Committee Meeting Thursday, October 25, 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM.
round table discussion Free to attendees

        Frances Marion Hotel 2018 YLD & GPSolo Fall Conference: Tradition Meets Innovation
Presented with ABA Young Lawyers Division
Francis Marion Hotel
Charleston, SC

    Ideas to be discussed:
-BUILDING THE MILLION DOLLAR ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE
 A Lawyer’s Guide toCreating a Winning Estate Planning Practice 

Ethically Building Your Practice using free and low-cost online methods
1.         Website specific http://www.njwillsprobatelaw.com
2.         Blog https://njprobate.blogspot.com  
3.         Facebook Law Office
4.         LinkedIn- post articles, events
5.         Google+ aka Google Plus
6.         Twitter
7.         YouTube
8.         Avvo Legal rating
9.         JD Supra
10.    Justia Lawyer Directory:
11.     Yelp for Business Owners
    Dear GPSolo Leaders:

The Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Committee and Elder Law Joint Committee Meeting during the 2018 YLD and GPSolo Joint Fall Conference in Charleston, SC has been scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM. All committee meetings will be conducted on Thursday, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy programming on Friday and Saturday.  Due to limited time and space some committee meetings may have been scheduled for thirty minutes.  
https://www.facebook.com/events/242233059820155/

These calls are open to ABA staff and Members with an interest in developing programing, policy or publications on issues relating to aging and law.  Please share this message with colleagues who may want to participate and encourage people to email me to be added to the invitation list (david.godfrey@americanbar.org.)  

For ABA staff with access to Personify Committees, the Committee name is COLA-AGING-AND-LAW-NETWK and the list id is ZZ572696.  Please feel free to add and remove members and staff as assignments change. You can also email changes to David.Godfrey@Americanbar.org


Next Call – October 8th, 2:00 PM Eastern time.