Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New Jersey Probate & Estate Litigation: Action to Compel Inventory of the Decedent’s Property

Generally, New Jersey law does not require that an Executor or Administrator file an inventory of the decedent’s assets as a matter of course. However, pursuant to the New Jersey Probate Code, the Court may force an Executor or Administrator to file an inventory of all real and personal property of the decedent “which has come to his hands, possession or knowledge or into the hands of any other person for him.”

Procedurally, an application to compel the filing of an inventory is brought in a summary manner by way of verified complaint upon an order to show cause, and is brought in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part of the same county of appointment. By statute, an application to compel the filing of an inventory by the estate’s personal representative cannot be filed until three (3) months after appointment of the personal representative; however, limited exceptions may apply to this timeframe. Similar to the filing of a fiduciary accounting, an interested party may file exceptions to the inventory of the personal representative; ordinarily, a party may except to the inventory on the basis that the Administrator or Executor failed to include certain property in his or her inventory.

An inventory is intended to notify all interested parties of the assets and liabilities of the estate, and to presumptively fix the values of real and personal property. Therefore, it is necessary that appraisers be designated in accordance with the Probate Code. In any event, it is imperative that the personal representative’s inventory be specific, detailed, and accurately describe all assets, real and personal property, debts owed and claims.

Because estate administration, estate litigation, and Will contests require specialized knowledge, you may wish to consult with an experienced attorney if you have questions regarding a loved one’s or your own Last Will and Testament, your or your loved one’s Power of Attorney, suspicions of undue influence, the probate process, administration of an estate or trust, fiduciary obligations, preparation of a formal or informal accounting, refunding bonds and releases, and the procedures for filing a formal accounting / inventory 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. /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  –  2017  –  All Rights Reserved

Probate / Estate Practice Specialties: Drafting of Wills and Trusts, appointment and removal of fiduciaries, probate procedures, intestacy, fiduciary duties and obligations, fiduciary accountings and exceptions, fiduciary compensation, marshaling of assets, actions to compel an inventory, insolvency petitions, will contests and 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)

Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. Timothy J. Little, P.C. represents 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).


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