One of the most difficult aspects for a New Jersey family after the death of a loved one is settling his or her estate. There are certain things loved ones will have to do before the distribution of estate assets, and this can be a lengthy and potentially complex process. In some cases, the decedent will name a specific person to oversee the administration of the estate — the executor. If the will does not specify a person to act in this capacity, the court may appoint one.
If you are the executor of an estate, you may wonder what this means for you specifically. It will be important for you to know about the specific responsibilities you will have and what you will have to do in order to eventually close the estate. When you know what to expect from what is ahead, it will be less likely you will experience stressful setbacks and complications.
What will you have to do?
The role of the executor is to oversee the administration of the estate. It will help to discuss wishes and preferences before the will writer passes away so that you are better prepared for what is ahead, but that is not always possible. Some of the things you will have to do after the individual’s passing include:
- First, you will have to locate the will and file the appropriate paperwork with the court. This will start the probate process.
- You will need to safeguard the property associated with the estate. This means securing the house, locating valuable assets and locking things away as needed.
- You will have to be very organized with all estate paperwork and documentation, as misplacing something can cost you additional time.
- Once everything else is complete, you will have to carefully distribute the assets in the estate as outlined in the will.
It may also be helpful for you to prepare yourself for the possibility that there will be disputes between heirs and beneficiaries. The administration of an estate can be stressful for a family, and it is common for there to be contention over the terms of the will.
As the executor, you may find it beneficial to know how to deal with various types of complications and how you can avoid additional problems. Your job is to fulfill the wishes of the decedent and oversee what happens to his or her property — something that is an immense responsibility.