When a testator writes a will, they most likely will name an executor in the will. This individual is charged with the responsibility of going to the Probate Court after the testator passes away, for probate to commence. If there is no will, probate will be done nevertheless, so long properties left by the deceased are held in his or her name. The properties have to be disbursed to heirs, debts and taxes paid, therefore the Probate Court has to appoint an estate administrator who will see to it that all these activities are carried out. When a person dies leaving assets in a county in New Jersey 07652, then probate must be conducted in a Surrogate’s Court in that county.
The executor or estate administrator (both having the same functions under dissimilar situations) has functions which he must carry out.
The functions of the executor are as follows:
1. Handling estate assets
The personal representative will first of all collect and appraise the assets, after which he opens a financial account for the estate. Income generated by the estate and already available cash of the estate are funded into the account, and these funds are used for paying estate debts, expenses and taxes.
Whatever asset that will be going through probate must be under the eyes of the executor. He exercises authority over these assets, and may even sell some to obtain liquidity. These assets may include real estate, bank accounts, automobiles, jewelry, antique and other personal possessions. Insurance proceeds with no beneficiary designations are also included as a probate asset. The executor must ensure that accurate and transparent accounting records of his management of the estate assets are kept. He may be required by the probate court to submit bank statements and receipts of each transaction made with the estate funds.
2. Payment of debts and taxes
The executor or administrator is responsible for paying estate debts and taxes from the estate bank account. He may require the court to issue an Order Limiting Creditors which gives creditors a limited time frame of 9 months for bringing forth their claims.
New Jersey state estate tax was abolished in 2018 but Federal estate tax must be paid if the estate values over $11.58 million for deaths in 2020. Inheritance tax is still in effect though. The value of inheritance tax depends on how closely related the beneficiary is with the decedent. More closely related beneficiaries will pay less. If the estate still receives income, then income tax will be paid.
In payment of estate debts and expenses, there is a problem. If the estate funds does not suffice to clear all debts and taxes, the executor must imply NJ state law for prioritizing the order of payment: the family is to be paid first, after which comes funeral bills, probate fees, attorney fees, taxes, in that order.
3. Distributing assets to heirs or beneficiaries
After bills and taxes have been paid, the executor can then proceed to distribution of assets. The executor has to verify through Child Support Judgment if a beneficiary or heir has not developed a liability for back child support. If has been verified, the executor then disburses assets to the beneficiaries according to the will; while in the absence of a will, the estate administrator disburses assets according to New Jersey succession laws.
After all debts have been paid, tax returns filed, and assets duly distributed, the estate is declared “closed” and the executor has completed his duties.
The Probate attorney, Paramus, New Jersey.
Hiring a probate attorney can help ease and speed up probate in Paramus, NJ. The probate attorney helps executors carry out their duties legally and efficiently; he will also help resolve conflicts amongst beneficiaries and family of the deceased due to grievances with the will or the court’s decision. Probate attorneys are also highly knowledgeable in estate planning and can assist you in creating wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. They can help you plan your estate to avoid the complexities of probate — along with all cost and headaches — by creating a living trust. They can help in tax planning as well, helping you avoid federal taxes by using certain legal devices like gifts and spending down. Contact a probate attorney for the quickest and most hitch-free probate experience in Paramus, NJ 07652.