Can Creditors Make a Claim against Joint Account Assets in New Jersey after Death?

HNWEstate Administration and Probate

The decedent owned several joint bank accounts with his wife.  He died intestate, meaning he died without a will or trust in place.  Under New Jersey law, his estate passed to his surviving spouse.

The decedent had quite a few debts, including credit card and medical bills.  The question raised was whether the bank accounts that passed to his spouse are subject to creditor claims or if the estate can be deemed insolvent.

The answer may surprise you.  Non probate assets like accounts within beneficiary designations are not exempt from creditors if other assets of the estate are insufficient.  A surviving joint owner, P.O.D. payee, or a designated beneficiary who receives payment from a joint account after the death of their co-owner is responsible to the decedent’s legal interest to discharge the claims and debts unpaid by the decedent’s estate up to ownership interest of the decedent.

A proceeding in the Chancery Division of the New Jersey Supreme Court can be filed by a creditor no later than 2 years following the death of the decedent.

To discuss your NJ estate administration and probate matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.  Mr. Niemann would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey Estate Administration and Probate Attorney

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