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What does NJ Surrogate Court require to close an estate?

Rahway, NJ |

I am the executor of an estate with two beneficiaries including myself and my brother. The Surrogate Court is not requiring a detailed accounting, however there is a "Refunding Bond and Release" form that I have submit for both beneficiaries in order to close the estate which has a list of the assets we are each receiving.

Some of the estate's assets are not mentioned in the will and pass outside of probate. My brother and I have agreed to split the estate equally, but when I list the distributions on the Refunding Bond and Release form it will not look that way if I don't include the non -probate assets.

Does the Court check that the list and values of distributed assets agree with the will, or do they simply accept the forms if they are signed (and notarized) by the beneficiaries?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Typically, the Court does not do an independent review of the Refunding Bonds and Releases filed so you should not have any problem filing the documents. That being said you need to understand the nature of the refunding bond. The refunding bonds serve to create liability to the heir to unknown estate creditors who surface after the closing of the estate. If you report different amounts on your and your bother's bonds you may have different exposure to such creditors. If this is at all a concern an attorney could help you draft an estate closing agreement which would allow you to issue refunding bonds in equal amounts while still achieving the equal distribution across all assets you and your brother desire. Lastly, if you were bonded to serve as Executor the bonding company may conduct its own review of the refunding bonds before it cancels the bond and they may have questions if the Will provides for equal distribution and the bonds refect a different reailty.

    Very truly yours,

    Ed Smeltzer

    NOTE: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

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