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First of all, you need to know that the joint tenancy property most likely does not need to be probated. Most joint tenancies are "right of survivorship" properties, meaning that they automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant upon the death of the other joint tenant. Your probate attorney would better be able to review the deed to make certain, but if that's the case, this would not be considered to be part of the estate, and thus not part of any estate tax calculation. Only the tenancy in common property would need to be transferred to you, and only her half of the property (since you already own half).
What County In New Jersey , based on above info, should I go to to start the Probate Process? Does it matter? She lived at Arden Court (Essex County), however some of her mail (Pension info etc) was sent toXXXXX where I live, some when to her .... - You would need to file in the county where she resided at the time of her death.
What is the Probate Process i.e., What Steps are Required? - The probate process in a situation such as this would be pretty simple. You would need an attorney to assist you in this regard. You would file a petition to probate the intestate (without a will) estate, asking to be named as the administrator of the estate. Once the court approves you, swears you in as administrator, and gives you "letters of administration", you can use those to transfer any accounts, assets, etc... into your name. You would also need to take care of any debts that she had at the time of her death. It's only complicated when there are a lot of assets and debts, and/or if there are a lot of individuals contesting the distribution of the assets.
What will the transfer costs on the properties be based on the above scenarios when I move the properties to My Name? - The realty transfer fee (RTF) does not apply to sales for less than $100, or those transactions made between husbands and wives or parents and children. Changing a deed to your name would not impose a realty transfer fee either. There are recording fees (around $10 or so) that depend on the county, so I would check with the county clerk of the county where the property is located.
Note: I am assuming I want have to pay estate tax in New Jersey based on the values outlined above , AM i Correct? Actually, probably not. New Jersey collects both an inheritance tax and its own estate tax, separate from the federal estate tax. Under current law, estates with a total value of more than $675,000 are subject to the New Jersey estate tax. The governor, however, has proposed raising the exemption to $1 million.
There is also an inheritance tax in New Jersey. It’s different from the estate tax because it applies to estates of any size, but the tax rate is based on how closely each inheritor is related to the deceased person. Class A beneficiaries are exempt from the inheritance tax. They includes the deceased person’s:
- spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner
- parent or grandparent
- child (biological, adopted, or mutually acknowledged)
- stepchild (but not step grandchild or great-step grandchild)
- grandchild or other lineal descendant of a child
As such, since the only property subject to the transfer would be the property that you hold in common with her, and it would only be half of that value (since you own the other half) it most likely would be under this $675000 limit for taxes. And no inheritance taxes would be owed.
She alluded to a Will in a safety deposit box that she might have created in 1978, I wouldn't know how to find it? Any Suggestions? - That's hard to say. Once you're named as administrator of the estate, you can take the letters of administration to her bank, etc... and see if they have a safe deposit box in her name. But until you do have one, go on the assumption that she did not have a current, valid will.
Assuming I am the Beneficiary of that will, What is the difference in terms of taxes ramifications if the WIll leaves everything to me or if, or, assuming no will, If I go probate? No difference. A will is an expression of intent upon death, but if there is no will, then the property would pass under state laws of "intestate administration", which essentially means that it goes to a spouse in full or part, and if no spouse, then to children.
Are there Probate Costs In New Jersey? There are costs to file for probate, yes, which vary from county to county. These typically run $200 to $300, but additional fees could be added if you need to give notice, etc... Your attorney can assist in that regard.
Are there any other questions That I am not thinking of? Not off the top of my head.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!