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Burlington County Location:
Pavilions at Greentree
12000 Lincoln Drive West
Suite 401
Marlton, NJ 08053

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Camden County Location:
111 White Horse Pike
Haddon Hts., NJ 08035

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1) Notify family and friends of the deceased.
Speak to other key people to spread the word of the passing of your loved one. You may want to temporarily change your voice mail to provide information to others and forward email notification about the details of the memorial services and, if applicable, where donations in lieu of flowers could be made.

2) Contact a local funeral director to make burial arrangements
The funeral process requires making decisions on the type of service and casket, whether the loved one wanted a viewing and other important decisions to make the service dignified and a tribute to the memory of your loved one. A provision of the New Jersey probate law (ie. The Cemetary Act) allows New Jersey residents to appoint a representative to be in charge of funeral and burial arrangements which must be made under the terms of a valid Will. If no appointment of a funeral agent in the Will, the Executor has the obligation to notify the funeral director of the appointment and provide information regarding funds to carry out the funeral arrangements.

For more information on planning a funeral, I suggest Funeral Wise.
For more information regarding NJ Funeral Directors, I suggest NJ State Funeral Director's Association.

3) Write an obituary
Information regarding the funeral arrangements can be further publicized in local newspapers where the loved one passed and also other local papers where the loved one previously lived including alumni publications and other organizations important to your loved one.

For more information on writing an obituary, I suggest Obituary Guide.

4) Plan a reception
If you are planning a gathering to celebrate your loved one’s life, it is a good idea to use a caterer or delegate the responsibility to a friend or family member who wants to assist you.

5) Begin Searching for needed Documents and Information
You must locate the original Will as the Surrogate Courts in New Jersey will not accept a copy. If you cannot locate, try searching the State of New Jersey, Department of State database titled Will Registry allows those who make a Will to register basic information regarding the Will. The Will Registry Program, started in 2005, provides that “interested persons” may search the database as defined by N.J.S.A. 3B:3-2.1(d). A safety deposit box may also be accessed for the limited purpose of locating a Will without obtaining prior authorization from the Surrogate Court if probate is necessary. You will also need to obtain several original death certificates from the funeral director.

For more information regarding the New Jersey County Surrogates, please Click Here.

If the loved one died without a Will, the person died intestate. In that case, disposition of the estate and appointment of an Administrator of the estate is handled by provisions of the New Jersey probate law which govern how the estate is distributed among the heirs of the intestate. For more information on the intestate laws of the State of New Jersey, please Click Here.

6) Ascertain the Family Tree
Identify all family relationships so that proper notice of probate can be given everyone entitled to notice if probate is necessary.

For more information regarding a family tree, I suggest

7) Ascertain Income and Employer Information
Contact the Human Resources Department of any current and former employers to determine if the loved one had retirement benefits payable. Also, contact Social Security and advise as to the date of death if benefits were being received by the loved one. If Veteran Benefits were being received, you can contact The US Department of Veteran Affairs.

8) Ascertain Debts and Expenses
You will need to gather all of the loved one’s financial information. A review of incoming mail for statements which can be separated into categories for ease of reference. A review of previously filed tax returns may also reveal the existence of assets. Keep detailed records of all expenses paid including any loans made to the estate pending probate so that all monies expended on behalf of the loved one can be properly accounted for and documented in the final accounting. All regular payments on loans such as mortgages and any utility payments are required to be made on a timely basis.

9) Prepare for the Filing of Tax Returns
A final income tax return will need to be filed with the IRS and State of New Jersey (known as a short year filing). A Federal Estate and Gift Tax Return may be required. In New Jersey, an Estate-Tax Return is required for estates with a value over $675,000.00.

10) Consult a New Jersey Probate Attorney
A knowledgeable, thorough and prepared NJ Attorney with experience in NJ Probate Law can advise you as to the specific steps necessary in your situation. You may have little or no experience in these important matters. A thorough understanding of the process and the required steps to efficiently administer the estate as a personal representative in New Jersey is vital. A New Jersey Probate lawyer can provide that assistance along with a division of responsibilities so that the personal representative remains active during the estate administration process and actively involved in the decision making process.

If you need an experienced probate attorney in New Jersey please contact us.


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Copyright © 2000/2011 by New Jersey Attorney, John F. Renner. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of all or any part of this document, without prior permission of John F. Renner, Esq. is expressly prohibited.