A Beginner’s Guide to Being the Executor of an Estate

February 11th, 2020
A Beginner’s Guide to Being the Executor of an Estate

If you are appointed the executor of an estate in New Jersey, consulting a lawyer can make the process smoother. An executor is responsible for overseeing the management and distribution of a deceased individual’s estate. An estate includes savings, investments, real estate, and other valuables. If you’re new to being an executor, here are a few key responsibilities you need to know.

Appointment as Executor – Pre-Death Conversations to Have

You’ll want to discuss where the will, valuables, and other important documents are located. In addition, ask about safes or file cabinets. Also, ask about legal representation and accountants who can help with the process. Knowing these locations and contacts will be crucial for a swift probate. Probate refers to the legal process to authenticate the will of a deceased individual.

After Death – An Executor Needs the Will

The first thing you need to do after your loved one dies is to find the original will. The will is a legally binding document that spells out the person’s estate wishes. For example, inheritance sums, property, and beneficiaries are all listed. The next step that needs to be completed soon after death is procuring the death certificates. You can order death certificates from the funeral home. It’s a good idea to order multiple copies.

Hire a Lawyer for Probate in New Jersey

Next, you’ll want to hire a New Jersey lawyer experienced in the probate process. The lawyer will help you submit the will and needed documents to court. As executor, you may also have to foot the bill for some of the filing fees and other expenses for getting a will to probate. However, make sure you keep the receipts. You will get reimbursed if you track expenses and keep your receipts.

Next Steps For The Executor

During probate, a judge oversees authentication of the will and recognition of you as executor, and legalizes the distribution and transfer of the estate. However, probate does not always happen quickly. It can take several months, especially if there is disagreement among beneficiaries. Meanwhile, you need to make sure real estate expenses and bills get paid. Negligence in mortgage payments or property taxes can result in property foreclosure.

Administering the Estate as Executor

After the court recognizes you as the legal executor, you can access all estate property and move forward. This also allows you to access anything the deceased love one could and divvy out the inheritance and information. You will also pay out the creditors who are entitled to parts of the estate as directed in the will. In addition, if the estate owes taxes, you will pay those out of estate accounts.

Let Bowne-Barry & Barry Help

Being an executor is a lot of responsibility.There are big risks if you don’t know what you are doing. Because of this, hiring a lawyer to walk you through the process is the best way to make sure an estate is distributed properly. For the best estate lawyer in the New Jersey area, turn to Bowne-Barry & Barry for help. Visit our website or give us a call today.