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Wills and Trusts

There are many steps in the administration of a New Jersey estate, even when there are no feuds between family members. There are legal issues as well as accounting and insurance issues. It is, therefore, almost always advisable to employ an experienced attorney, such as John C. Grey, Jr., after a loved one dies, in order to properly and legally administer the estate.


When somebody dies, it is usually necessary to go to the local courthouse and open an estate in that person’s name. The deceased person, also known as the “decedent,” may have set forth his or her wishes upon death by naming a personal representative to handle his or her affairs.

When a person dies with a will, the court will appoint an executor (if female, an executrix) to administer the estate. The person in charge of overseeing the decedent’s estate usually has the authority to close all of the decedent’s bank accounts, pay his outstanding taxes and credit card bills, sell his remaining property and ultimately distribute the property to his beneficiaries.

When a person dies with a will, then the will dictates who gets the property. The will may dictate certain conditions before a beneficiary receives any property. When a person dies without a will, then the law of the state in which he died determines which family members are qualified as beneficiaries to receive all or some of the decedent’s assets.

In most places, it is necessary to file estate taxes or inheritance taxes. There may be other tax consequences associated with the handling of the estate including the decedent’s outstanding income taxes, and income tax on any estate assets which are held while the estate remains open.

Sometimes, family members and other persons find themselves fighting over who is entitled to the decedent’s assets. If this situation is happening with your family, it is important to speak with a New Jersey family attorney who is experience with estate cases, such as John C. Grey, Jr. This may require a lawsuit to be filed in the probate court, seeking to freeze assets or to revoke the appointment of an executor and appoint someone else.

Sometimes, a case involves a last will and testament procured by fraud, by forgery or by other false pretenses. In some instances, a decedent was a victim of undue influence by a scheming family member during the decedent’s dying hours. Where these circumstances exist it is important to retain a an attorney immediately and to file the necessary emergency motions and petitions to protect the estate’s assets.

To learn more about estates, please contact our office. The Law Office of John C. Grey Jr. stands ready, willing, and able to assist you.