Probate Last Will and Testament – New Jersey
What Is Probate?
Following the death of a loved one, probate is the court process for transferring your loved one’s assets to those designated in the will or by law. Probate involves filing your loved one’s will (if one exists) and documentation of his or her assets. The court will then transfer the property according to the terms of the will or according to New Jersey law.
When Is Probate Required?
Probate is not mandatory in all circumstances. For example, if your loved one created certain trusts before his or her death, or designated beneficiaries on certain financial accounts, probate may not be necessary.
The value of your loved one’s estate also impacts whether probate is required. Because the rules regarding probate are complex, you should consult with an attorney about the specifics of your situation. Probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. For many individuals, it is possible to avoid probate through careful estate planning.
What Does The Executor Do?
In simplest terms, the executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who has passed away. As a practical matter, the executor acts as the representative of the deceased person’s estate in all legal matters with regard to wrapping up that person’s affairs. As executor, you must file the will and other documents with the probate court. You must also provide notice to the appropriate individuals and create a detailed inventory of the deceased’s assets. After any creditors are paid off, you are responsible for distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the terms of the will or court order.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have to carry out other duties, including:
Filing tax returns on behalf of the deceased’s estate
Obtaining valuations or appraisals
Notifying third parties of the death
Executors are fiduciaries, which means they are responsible for managing the property of another. Accordingly, they are held to high legal standards of care in performing these duties. Failures or lapses can potentially subject you to personal liability. It is important to consult with an attorney about the scope and nature of your duties.
At the Law Office of Guberman, Benson & Calise, we can walk you through the process and guide you each step of the way.
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