The assets in a New Jersey Probate case is usually broken up into two classes, real and personal property.  Real property consistes of mainly real estate, or houses, vacant land or commercial property.  While personal property is pretty much everything else, such as bank accounts, the family car or collection of rare stamps.  The distribution of the assets can be a contentious ordeal and can drag on for years if someone contests.  

The last will and testimate would normally contain the guidelines for what happens to the estate's personal property.  It is very common for those benefiting under the will to inherit items of particular sentimental or real value, while the remaining items be sold at auction or to a third party such as a consignment shop or an investor.  Any contents not sold and are of little value can be disposed of.

A house that passes through probate in New Jersey can be sold with the approval of the court before the probate process has been completed.  Sometimes this is needed in order to pay off taxes or liens on the property.  The house can also be sold if nobody is interested in taking care of the house and would rather divide the proceeds up between the beneficiaries.   Some situations can arise where there are multiple heirs inline to inherit the house.  If one of them wants to stay and live in the house and the other(s) would prefer to sell off the property a conflict can occur.  This however can be avoided with a properly written will the specifically dictates what should happen with the house and directs the beneficiaries how to handle the situation.  

To complicate the matter, sometimes the house will not have to go through the probate property.  If the house was jointly owned by a couple, in most circumstances, the surviving spous will become the sole owner.  This is called a tenancy by the Entirety.  Another type of ownership can supersede a will and that is a Joint Tenancy with rights of survivorship.  Sometimes an elderly parent will create a joint tenancy with a child of their family home.  This is done to avoid the probate process and allow ownership of the house to pass immediately to the child upon death.

In most cases the best course of action is to sell the house.  It helps avoid family battles and can be an easy way to put thousands of dollars into your pocket.  If you are looking to sell a house that has been through probate or is currently in probate please contact Scott at

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