New Jersey law affords surviving spouses important rights and benefits. In order to preserve all rights and benefits granted under the law, a surviving spouse must adhere to time-sensitive deadlines provided by statute. The failure to meet one of the probate deadlines can cause a surviving spouse to lose one or more spousal entitlements.
What if a Spouse Dies Without a Will?
What if I Am Left Out of the Will?
Elective Share or Election Against a Will
[T]he estate reduced by funeral and administration expenses, and enforceable claims, to which is added the value of property transferred by the decedent at any time during marriage, or during a domestic partnership, to or for the benefit of any person other than the surviving spouse or domestic partner, to the extent that the decedent did not receive adequate and full consideration in money or money’s worth for the transfer, if the transfer is of any of the following types:
The decedent retained a right of possession or income from the property;
The decedent retained the power to consume the transferred property or revoke, consume, invade or dispose of the principal for his own benefit;
Any transfer held at the time of the decedent’s death with another who held a right of survivorship;
Any transfer as a gift within the two years preceding decedent’s death in excess of $3,000.
Exemptions from Transfer Inheritance Tax
The State of New Jersey imposes both an Estate Tax as well as a Transfer Inheritance Tax on the estates of resident decedents. There are several tax implications surviving spouses need to be aware of. Namely, qualified employment annuities paid to a surviving spouse are exempt from the transfer inheritance tax. It is advised that the surviving spouse consult with an experienced attorney in order to understand the tax structure on inheritances with regard to their rights.
Time for Probate of Will; Preliminary Filing
What If I Cannot Afford a Probate Lawyer to Represent Me In Procuring My Surviving Spouse Rights?