New Jersey estate administration: a primer

The end of a person's life has been speculated about endlessly in books and songs. Less poetic, perhaps, but necessary after a loved one's life has ended is a familiarity with estate administration.

What is estate administration, you might wonder. It is at its essence, the collection and management of the assets of an estate.

Here in New Jersey, that means a list of duties is delegated to the personal representative (also called the estate administrator or executor).

Duties include probating the will at the county surrogate's office (the Hunterdon Surrogate's Office is here in Flemington). The administrator must also notify beneficiaries, pay creditors, collect assets (and convert assets for distribution, if needed), protect assets, distribute assets and prepare tax returns.

If legal claims are made against the estate, the personal representative also has to prepare to deal with those.

It's a long list of often complex issues that inevitably contain several unanticipated complications. For those dealing with estate administration issues after the passing of a loved one, it is a comfort to know that help is nearby.

Experienced estate administration attorneys can dispense much-needed legal advice or shoulder many of the responsibilities of the process. In matters involving estates with substantial assets, an attorney can help clients minimize the impact of estate taxes that can include amounts owed to both the federal government and state of New Jersey.

Discuss the details of your situation with an attorney experienced in estate administration, as well as probate litigation, contested estate administration, will contests and estate planning. 

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Lanza & Lanza LLP

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