SPARTA, N.J. – A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus advanced today by the Health and Senior Services Committee will save time and money for family members after the loss of a loved one in a nursing facility. The bill (A-3343) requires nursing homes to encourage residents to designate a beneficiary to accept any remaining money in their personal needs allowance (PNA) accounts. The time-consuming probate process is avoided when the money passes directly to a survivor.
“It’s just common sense. This one piece of paper can simplify matters so much at a time when the family is grieving,” said Space, R — Sussex, Warren and Morris. “This does away with the need for small estates to go through a complete probate process. It makes life easier for family members and the Surrogate Courts.”
Under the bill, the beneficiary form applies to any remaining balance in a deceased residents’ account that does not exceed $1,000. Sussex County Surrogate Gary Chiusano came up with the idea for the legislation.
“This bill will reduce the required paperwork of survivors of an individual who passes away while a resident of a NJ nursing home facility by allowing the transfer of funds directly to the beneficiaries without having to pass through the Probate Court process,” Chiusano said. “It also eliminates the necessity to establish an Estate Account at a financial institution in situations when this is the only asset owned by the decedent.”
Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus thanked Surrogate Chiusano for advocating for this legislation and for bringing forth ideas on how to make the services which Surrogates provide more efficient and save taxpayers money.
“Whether the decedent had a will or died intestate, this bill makes the administration of distributing the PNA accounts much less of a burden for the family, the financial institutions and the Surrogate Courts of the State of NJ,” said Phoebus R—Sussex, Warren, Morris. “I thank Surrogate Chiusano for bringing this forward and our legislative office will continue to work our local and county officials to work on ways on cutting expenses.”
The Health and Senior Services Committee also released the Senate companion bill, S-2110, sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho. That bill passed the Senate 39-0 on March 16, 2015.