An administrator of an estate – be it a general administrator, administrator with the Will annexed, substitutionary administrator, administrator ad prosequendum, administrator pendente lite, temporary administrator, or other form – is an officer of the Court, and may secure his or her letters of administration only through appointment by the Surrogate or Superior Court.
Pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, when an individual passes away intestate:
Administration of the intestate’s estate shall be granted to the surviving spouse or domestic partner of the intestate, if he or she will accept administration, and, if not, or if there be no surviving spouse or domestic partner, then to the remaining heirs of the intestate, or some of them, if they or any of them will accept the administration, and, if none of them will accept the administration, then to any other person as will accept the administration.
If an application for letters of administration is made by the person first entitled thereto, no renunciation or notice is required by the Rules of Court. Where application for letters is made by a person other than one who alone has the right to letters, the applicant must produce either executed Renunciation for Administration documents, signed by any competent adult person whose right to the letters is prior or equal to that of the applicant, or proof that all such persons who have not renounced have received notice of the application. Where Renunciations have not been secured, the Surrogate’s Court may also require notice to interested parties other than those entitled to letters. In the event that the applicant indicates that there are no known next of kin, or he or she has no knowledge as to the existence of next of kin, the applicant is required to file proof that proper notice was provided to the Office of the Attorney General. It is important to note that failure to give the required notice may result in reopening of the judgment granting letters of administration.
In certain instances, such as where persons entitled to notice cannot be located, application for letters of administration must be made to the Superior Court, Chancery Division – Probate Part by way of Verified Complaint upon Order to Show Cause. In such instances, it is important to consult with an experienced probate attorney.
Because estate planning, administration, and litigation require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you are planning your estate, or the fiduciary or beneficiary of an estate or trust. Specifically, you may wish to contact an attorney if you have questions regarding the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, challenges to a Will, contests and caveats, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for filing a formal accounting or exceptions thereto. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.
Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq., 2018, all rights reserved
Timothy J. Little, P.C. – Attorneys in Woodbridge, New Jersey representing clients throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe Township, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Aberdeen, Matawan, Hazlet, Holmdel, Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Keansburg, Middletown, Lincroft, Manalapan, Englishtown, Marlboro, Howell, Freehold, Colts Neck, Rumson), Union County (Rahway, Elizabeth), Ocean County (Jackson, Brick, Point Pleasant, Toms River), Somerset County, and Burlington County (Chesterfield).
Practice Areas: Drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, executor and administrator duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, insolvency petitions, will contests and disputes, funeral and interment disputes, caveats, the elective share, undue influence claims, Power of Attorney abuse and inter vivos gift disputes, ejectment and eviction from estate or trust property, Refunding Bonds and Releases, New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax (IT-R), New Jersey Estate Tax (IT-Estate)