Morristown, NJ asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New Jersey

Q: Hi there. My aunt just died intestate. No husband parents or children. Brother is bullying the estate!

My aunt just died interstate and my dad (with dementia) the last surviving sibling. There are 18 nieces and nephews. My brother is my dad‘s power of attorney and been depleting his funds for the last five years to live on and take himself out of pre-foreclosure. Now that my dad has an opportunity to inherit money we can use it for his care. Our goal is to protect that money somehow. My brother put locks on my aunts house the day after she died took her checkbook deed to the house and bank statements because he thought he automatically got administrator. Now he knows he has to apply after speaking to an attorney. Our first plan is to go to court and let a judge appoint one of us as administrator and not my brother. I believe we have enough information to Show cause. My second plan is to get guardianship to protect whatever money we can use for my dad’s care. My problem is we cannot gain access to the house . Can he control this? We have placed a caveat so we can dispute

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1 Lawyer Answer
Derek John Soltis
Derek John Soltis
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jersey City, NJ

A: It sounds like you are on the right track as far as what needs to be done.

In short your brother does not automatically get to act as the administrator of the estate. He would have to be named the administrator by the Surrogate court.

You should sit down with an attorney to go over your options.

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