Individuals in New Jersey who have been named as an executor of a parent's will should be aware of what the role entails. Understanding the responsibilities is the first step in making sure that a parent's last wishes are correctly carried out.
If it is possible, those who have been named as executors should speak with their parents to review the contents of the will, discuss their plans for family heirlooms and verify that all other family members have been informed of their final wishes. Doing so may help avoid confusion and conflict from occurring later on when their parents die.
Executors should also take care to place the original will and any other important documents in a safe place. They will need to obtain several copies of the certified death certificate and determine if the estate has to go through the probate process. After the will has been filed with the probate court, which is required regardless whether the estate actually goes through the process, the executor should begin to notify the appropriate parties, including government agencies, banks and credit card companies, of his or her parent's passing and submit copies of the death certificate as proof.
A bank account in the name of the estate should be opened by the executor in order to receive paychecks or other funds owed to his or her parent and write checks for utilities, credit cards, mortgages, property taxes and other debts that will have to be paid until the estate has been settled.
An attorney specializing in probate and estate administration may assist an executor of a will with addressing probates issues in court. A lawyer may also assist with locating and notifying beneficiaries, paying creditors, distributing assets, preparing tax returns and any other estate administration task an executor may have to perform.