When a loved one dies, you know you will grieve for a long time and make plans to always keep their memory close to you. What you may not plan for is the job of executor of the person’s estate. A testator, or person making a will, typically names an executor to handle all financial affairs, the funeral and burial instructions. To start the probate process you must have a copy of the will and a copy of the death certificate. You have to submit those items to the Surrogate’s Court.
As executor, you have a lot of responsibilities such as:
- Finding the will
- Filing the will with the probate court
- Researching and finding all property owned by the deceased
- Open an estate checking account
- Gathering the deceased individual’s estate
- Paying their taxes
- Paying any debts
- Transferring assets to beneficiaries
- Making sure each beneficiary executes a Refunding Bond and Release for the received inheritance
- Making sure all Refunding Bonds and Releases are filed with New Jersey’s Surrogate’s Office
Obtaining New Jersey Tax Waivers for Probate Administration
The probate process can take almost a year to complete in New Jersey. There is a lot of work you have to do during that time to make sure the process is completed. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith have decades of experience in advising and assisting executors. We understand the probate administration process and how to quickly and efficiently complete the process. We will help you:
- Understand your duties as executor
- Create a system that tracks and controls expenses
- Identify debts
- Track assets
- Assist you in paying off any non-dischargeable debts
- Assist you in distributing assets
- Pay off any estate taxes
- Obtain all waivers of estate tax lien forms
Whether you knew your loved one chose you as an executor or not, you still need help completing this process. Sometimes potential and existing beneficiaries are upset about the distribution of assests left in the will. Other times they may not think you’re doing a decent job or accuse you of abusing your power. If probate litigation issues ever arise, Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith is on your side. We will assist you with completing the probate administration process and resolving any probate litigation issues.
Avoiding Mistakes During Probate Administration
As executor, you must know what assets are considered “non-probate.” Non-probate assets are property that can be transferred to new owners without assistance from probate. For instance, you don’t handle any assets that:
- The deceased owned jointly with someone else. The asset automatically transfers to the joint partner
- Assets designated to any beneficiaries outside of the will. These assets include payable-on-death bank accounts, 401(k) plans or IRAs
- Assets in a revocable living trust
- Life insurance proceeds
- Pension benefits payable to a named beneficiary
Before distributing any of the estate assets, you must make sure debts are paid for the deceased and beneficiary. For example, you’re required to do a Child Support Judgment Search to make sure the beneficiary isn’t liable for back child support payments.
Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith is here for you to help with the probate process.