Most New Jersey residents who are contemplating the preparation of their wills know that one of the important tasks is the appointment of an executor. This person is entrusted with a wide variety of responsibilities, one of the most important of which is ensuring that the provisions of the will dealing with the distribution of the testator’s property to the designated beneficiaries are followed in a timely and complete manner.
The executor is also responsible for paying off the decedent’s debts to creditors with the funds of the estate and for filing the necessary tax returns. In many cases, property of the estate will need to be sold in order to meet these financial obligations, but the executor is not allowed to profit thereby.
In addition to these basic responsibilities, an executor also has a large range of other duties that must be fulfilled. The executor is responsible for locating the assets of the estate and keeping them safe. If the testator had been receiving Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will need to be contacted. The executor will also make the decision of whether or not the testator’s will needs to go through the probate process. In addition, any credit cards should be cancelled and the issuer notified. A bank account should be opened in the name of the estate, with any continuing payments such as a home mortgage being made from the funds that are placed in it.
The naming of an executor should not be taken lightly, and it should be a person that the maker of the will trusts implicitly. In some cases, it may be advisable to discuss this matter with an estate planning attorney before the will is prepared.