Have you ever thought about what would happen if you died without having made a will? Would the state take possession of your assets, or would they go to your family?
Another name for dying without a will is intestacy. If you die without a will in New Jersey, the court appoints an administrator who distributes your property according to the rules of intestate succession.
What is intestate succession?
According to FindLaw, the laws of intestate succession describe who inherits your property if you die without a will. Each state makes its own laws of intestate succession according to the way that most people bequeath assets to people who are close to them.
Without a will, there is no way for the courts to know how you would have divided your property among your potential heirs. Therefore, they have to follow the rules of intestate succession if you die without a will.
What are the laws of intestate succession in New Jersey?
New Jersey Statutes Title 3B, Chapter 5 set forth the rules of intestate succession for the state. The distribution of your property if you die intestate depends partially on your relationships with others. For example, if you are a married person at the time of your death, your entire estate goes to your surviving spouse if you do not have children or you share all your children with your surviving spouse.
If you have children but no spouse, your estate goes to your children. If you have neither children nor a spouse, your estate goes to your parents unless they predecease you, in which case they go to your siblings. If you have no siblings, your estate may go to your grandparents or their surviving descendants.
The laws of intestate succession do not only apply if you have no will at all. If you have an estate plan that does not include all of your property, intestate succession also applies to whatever remains.