From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother died four months ago as a resident of Camden County and my sister and I cannot locate her will. We thought it thought it would be in the safe deposit box, but it was not. I cleaned out all of her papers in the house. Now, I think I may have accidentally thrown out the will. What can we do?
If your mother’s will cannot be located, then your mother is considered to have died “intestate,” meaning without a will. When someone dies without a will in New Jersey, the New Jersey Rules of Intestacy apply. These rules dictate who is eligible to serve as the Administrator of the estate and how your mother’s assets will be divided up. If we can find a copy held by the lawyer, it is possible to file the copy, but I would need to know more facts.
If your mother died unmarried and survived by her two children, and if there is no will, your sister and you will divide the estate. Hopefully, you both get along and can cooperate in this process. If you cannot, then you would be well advised to retain an experienced probate lawyer who is skilled in estate litigation. Estate Administrations can sometimes lead to years of conflict between siblings, and a skilled probate attorney can help avoid litigation if possible.
If you have any other questions about Probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with one of our Probate Lawyers.