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Children’s Shares of Estates in New Jersey


If someone dies in New Jersey without leaving a will behind to direct where their assets will go, New Jersey intestacy laws take over and determine which relatives will receive the estate’s assets.

As a general rule, children receive an “intestate share” of your estate if you die without a will. How much of your estate they receive, however, depends on how many children you have, whether you have a currently living spouse, whether your current spouse is also a parent of your children, and whether your spouse has any children from a previous relationship.

In order for a child to receive an intestate share, New Jersey has to consider them your legal children. Legally adopted children are treated just like biological children and will receive a share. Foster and stepchildren not legally adopted will not receive a share, however. Stepchildren will be able to inherit if you die without any other relatives, though. Children you have placed up for adoption that have been legally adopted by someone else will not be eligible, but biological children adopted by a spouse are not affected. Children conceived by you but not born until after your death will receive a share if they survive 120 hours after childbirth.

For children born outside of marriage, they will receive a share if you acknowledged your paternity or paternity was otherwise established under New Jersey law. Any children born to your wife during marriage is assumed to be your child and will get a share. Grandchildren will only receive a share if their parent is not alive to receive a share they would have received.

You cannot, however, inherit from your child if you failed to acknowledge or abandoned them, if you were convicted of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, or a conspiracy or attempt to commit murder, or if you abused or neglected your child, which then contributed to your child’s death.

Estate administrators may need to obtain estate surety bonds in order to protect the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries in accordance with applicable New Jersey state law.

Where can you instantly purchase an estate surety bond?

Colonial Surety offers the direct and digital way to obtain estate bonds, also known as executor bonds, administrator bondspersonal representative bonds, and probate bonds. We are the insurance company — which means no agent, no broker, and no middleman. We make it easy to obtain your bond instantly. The steps are easy — get a quote online, fill out your information, satisfy underwriting requirements, and enter your payment method. Print or e-file your bond from your office. It’s that simple!