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Articles Posted in Estates

Unfortunately, parents may fall delinquent on their child support obligation for any number of reasons.

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The overdue payments that they owe are known as “arrears.” The good news is that, in New Jersey, you may be entitled to collect overdue child support before the other parent can collect any inheritance!

However, there are certain steps that must be taken before you can collect child support arrears from the other parent’s inheritance. First, either you or the probation department must sue the obligated parent in Family Court, and you must obtain a Judgment specifying the amount of money that you are due. Then, the Judgment must be “recorded” or “docketed” with the Clerk of the Superior Court in Trenton.

My Spouse or Loved one has recently died. What do I need to know?  Estate-Administration-Picture-300x200

First and foremost, you should locate their Will. The Will identifies the Executor or another individual who will be responsible for making the funeral arrangements. After that, the Executor should contact an Estate Attorney to probate the Will and begin the Estate Administration process.

If there is no Will, the next-of-kin determines the funeral arrangement. This is usually the spouse or a child. If the deceased never married or had children, next-of-kin could be a parent or sibling. The closest living relative should then contact an Estate Attorney to qualify as Administrator and begin the Estate Administration process.

What Steps should I take to Assist the Estate Attorney?

At the outset of every estate, your Estate Attorney will need to see the Original Death Certificate and Original Will, including any Codicils thereto. Your Attorney will also need a list of all immediate relatives, including the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Finally, the Estate Attorney will need a list of all assets and debts in the deceased’s name or in which they have an interest. Assets include real property, bank accounts, life insurance, stocks, bonds, etc. Debts include funeral expenses, unpaid final medical expenses, mortgages, auto and other loans, and credit cards, etc.

Where do I gather Information about Assets and Debts?

Gathering information about the estate is a bit like detective work. Unless you were familiar with their finances, it is going to take some investigation. The first place you should look is in the deceased’s personal papers, i.e. their desk, filing cabinet, safe, etc. If you have access to their email, that can also be a valuable tool. We are looking for recent financial statements, life insurance policies, credit card statements – anything having to do with their finances. You should also go to the nearest Post Office and forward their mail to your address.  As Executor or Administrator, you may open their mail.

Once your Estate Attorney has information about the location of accounts, we will reach out to the various institutions to request additional information, including a list of all accounts, the value or balance due, forms, etc.

My Spouse or Loved one had a Car. What should I do?

Do NOT drive the car under any circumstances. If you are involved in an automobile accident, the Estate could become a Defendant in a costly lawsuit, even if you are not at fault. This is to be avoided.

If the car is financed or leased, call the lender or leasing company to return the vehicle. If the car is owned outright, the primary method of disposing a motor vehicle is by selling it to a willing Buyer at fair market value. If the car is of little value, it may be permissible to donate it to charity or simply junk it in exchange for removal.

If there is a specific provision in the Will, the car may be transferred to the named Heir by signing title over to them.

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