Estate Timeline

In this article we address the significant dates and deadlines for administering an estate in New Jersey.

A timetable of events in every plan for administering an estate is established, in part, by defined statutory filing periods within which tax and non-tax events must occur. At a minimum, the events will include the following items that should take place within the periods shown:

  • Appearance at Surrogate's office to probate Will

Any time after death, but letters may not be issued sooner than 10 days after death (except when there is no Will then five days after death is the required time lapse).

  • Marshalling of debts and assets; preparation of calendar for administration; obtaining appraisals

Immediately after letters are issued (acts of fiduciary before Letters issued, if in good faith are permissible).

  • Notice of Will to interested parties

No later than 60 days after probate.

  • Completion of post-mortem tax analysis (subject to Later revisions)

5th to 7th month after death.

  • Communications to beneficiaries regarding all steps to be taken in administration

Throughout administration.

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner or civil union partner right to file for elective share expires

6 months after appointment of personal representative (may be extended by court order only).

  • Alternate valuation of assets

6 months after death.

  • Filing of New Jersey inheritance tax return with request for waivers and payment of direct tax

Before 8 months after death.

  • Filing and service of disclaimers

Must be filed within 9 months of death to be effective for tax purposes but can be filed later for non-tax purposes.

  • Filing decedent’s final income tax return

By April 15th of the year following the year of death.

  • Filing of Federal Estate Tax return and payment of tax

Before 9 months after death.

  • Distribution of tangible personal property

As soon as practical.

  • Distribution of specific bequests

Within one year if feasible to avoid interest.

  • Distribution of income and remainder

Based on post-mortem tax plan.

  • Closing of Federal estate tax proceedings

On audit.

  • Closing of New Jersey estate tax proceedings; payment of compromise tax, if any

On audit.

  • Payment of New Jersey estate tax, if any

Before 9 months after death.

  • Filling of New Jersey Estate Tax Return

Before 10 months after death.

  • Filing of fiduciary income tax returns (State and Federal)

If estate’s tax year is calendar year then by April 15th of the year following death. If estate elects a fiscal year, then within three and one-half months of end of fiscal year.

  • Final accounting, including formal or informal approvals

When all above are complete.

  • Payments on account of fees and commissions

Based on post-mortem tax plan except that amount of commissions which can be paid prior to the approval of the accounting is limited by statute.

  • Perform Child Support Judgment Search on each beneficiary

Before distribution of balance of residue to beneficiaries.

  • Filing of Release and refunding bond (available on website) and filed in Surrogate's Court

At completion of administration of the estate and before distribution of all assets.

  • Distribution of balance of residue; payment of balance of fees and commissions

When accounting approved.


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