What Does a Statement of Claim Mean in New Jersey Probate?

By Tom Streissguth

When a New Jersey resident dies, the executor of the estate inventories the assets, pays debts, and also transfers property to the estate's beneficiaries, according to the terms of the will. Local surrogate courts handle the probate case, in which the court approves the will and oversees the handling of the estate. In this process, a Statement of Claim, or a document that asserts that the decedent's estate owes money, is a vital document that serves as the basis for clearing the estate's debts.


When the executor of an estate files an Application for Probate, along with a valid will in the deceased's county of residence, this opens a probate case. It's the court's job to approve the will and to ensure that the will meets all legal requirements. The court grants Letters Testamentary to the executor, giving him the authority to handle the estate. The executor then carries out the important task of notifying the creditors of the death and the probate case.

Order Limiting Creditors

Where an estate is relatively complex, or its debts are uncertain, an executor can petition the Surrogate's Court for an Order Limiting Creditors. This order gives anyone who has a claim on the estate a limited amount of time to notify the probate court of the claim. State law sets this deadline at six months from the date of the Order. A creditor filing a claim after this period would not be able to collect from the estate.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Statement of Claim

Creditors notify the executor and the court of their claims with a "statement of claim." This is a general term for a document that asserts that the estate of the deceased owes money. Statements of claim can cover unsecured or secured debts, and must give basic contact information for the creditor, the amount of the claim, and any associated information, such as account numbers and any liens on property securing the debt. The court approves the statement of claim, allowing the executor to pay the debt out of the estate assets.


After a valid statement of claim is filed and approved by the probate court, the executor is obligated to pay the debt out of the estate assets before transferring bequests to beneficiaries named in the will. The executor has the right to dispute the statement of claim; if he does so, then New Jersey law sets a deadline of three months for the creditor to file a response. If there the estate does not have sufficient assets to pay claims, then it is insolvent. The executor must file notice of this fact within nine months of the death of the decedent, and notify all creditors.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
What to Expect From the Executor of the Will After Someone Dies?


Related articles

How to File a Claim Against the Estate of a Deceased

If a person dies while owing you money, you may file a claim against the deceased's estate in probate court. Filing a claim doesn't guarantee you'll get your money, but it does notify the court and estate representative of the debt. Once you file the claim, the court must consider the debt and whether the estate can afford to pay it. Since states have different deadlines for filing creditor's claims against an estate, you must file your claim as soon as possible to protect your rights.

How to Write a Letter Requesting the Payment of a Deceased's Debt

If someone died owing you money, you may request payment by writing a letter to the personal representative of the deceased's estate. Generally, each state has a statute listing all the information such a letter must include in order for it to constitute a valid creditor's claim. You must send the creditor claim letter to the personal representative within a certain time frame. If the letter includes all the information required by statute and is mailed before the deadline, you take your place in the line with the rest of the estate's creditors to be paid from the estate's available funds.

Does an Executor of a Will Receive More?

The job of an executor is to handle the estate of the deceased. In most cases, the deceased names the executor in his will. When there is no will, or when an executor can't complete the task, a probate court will appoint one. Under state probate rules, executors are responsible for filing the petition of probate and the will with the probate court and then seeing the process through to final distribution of the deceased's assets. Acting as an executor can be a complex and time-consuming process, but fortunately state laws also allow for fair compensation to executors from the estate assets.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

Estate Laws for Insolvent Estates in Georgia

Georgia law considers a decedent's estate insolvent when the decedent dies without enough money to pay all of his ...

California Debt Collection Laws for Deceased Persons

When a resident of California dies, an estate remains -- the property legally belonging to that individual. The estate ...

How to Prove an Estate Is Insolvent in Connecticut

When a person dies, his or her debts do not simply go “poof” and disappear. If an estate has any assets, all debts must ...

State of Georgia Guidelines to Show That a Personal Estate Is Insolvent

Think of it as bankruptcy for the dearly departed. When a person’s estate doesn’t have enough assets to cover its ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED