Bergen County Estate Planning Attorneys

Counseling NJ clients during the Estate Administration process

Estate planning is important for everyone to consider, no matter one’s lifestyle. Executing a valid will can help you plan for the future of your assets instead of allowing the state to make the decision for you. Though it can be overwhelming to consider, what happens to your possessions after you pass should be your decision and The Radol Law Firm is here to help. One of the factors to consider when starting the process of estate planning is picking the person to be the executor of your will. This person will have major obligations to satisfy on your behalf. Picking the right person is important. If you have been chosen to be an executor, it is important for your to retain the legal support to ensure that you are fully executing your responsibilities. If you are interested in finding out more about how to pick an executor during the estate planning process or have been chosen to be an executor, contact The Radol Law Firm to discuss this legal matter.

Picking an executor

If you need to choose an executor, you have a few things to consider. The first and foremost thought should be the significant responsibility of the executor. The person you choose will have to execute your wishes through a document-heavy, time-consuming process. Before choosing an executor, make sure they have the ability to fully satisfy their obligations. An executor should be someone you trust to follow your direction. In addition, it may be best to choose someone that is agreeable to potential beneficiaries as well. When an executor has been chosen, that person will need legal guidance through the process.

How does one become an executor?

If you are chosen to be an executor of a will and probate in necessary, you will have to go to Surrogate’s court and request to be formally appointed. This usually occurs as soon as 10 days of the death. You will need a copy of the will and the death certificate. The court will then provide “letters of testamentary”, giving the legal authority to the person chosen to be the executor. Once completed, you must act on behalf of the estate.

What does an executor do?

The executor of a will is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased, documented in the will. The executor is responsible for submitting a will to probate, gathering assets, paying estate debts, and distributing bequests to the beneficiaries. In addition, the executor must manage and preserve assets, file tax returns, and pay any estate and inheritance taxes due from the estate. To do so properly, the executor has the legal authority to buy, lease, sell and mortgage real estate, borrow or lend money, and exercise various tax options.

Being an executor can be time-consuming and comes with great responsibility. One may need to coordinate with attorneys, accountants, financial planners, and beneficiaries. One may need to locate, consolidate and/or invest assets, pay debts, distribute property, and pay taxes.

Are executors compensated for their time?

Many states provide executors commission and/or fees for their time. The amount one can get paid is either determined by the will or by the statute established by state law. New Jersey statutes establish a pay scale for executors. This can be adjusted by the court. It is important to note that this is taxable income and the executor will be responsible for the commission within the year that is it paid.

What happens if an executor fails his or her duties?

If an executor fails to fully execute their duties, a petition may be submitted to the court to have the executor removed and another appointed. This can be submitted by the beneficiaries of the estate and must be supported by substantial grounds. Just because people don’t get along doesn’t mean the state will change executors. The grounds must be significant.

Contact a law firm with experience in estate administration

The Radol Law Firm has been a legal resource to the people of New Jersey for over 30 years. We have helped countless families develop comprehensive estate plans, appointing and assisting executors along the way. If you need to appoint a person as your executor or you have been chosen as an executor, our firm is here to help. For further information, contact The Radol Law Firm for a consultation.