Your duties as Executor or Administrator of an Estate

     When someone dies, either with or without a Last Will and Testament, either an Executor (in the case of a Will) or an Administrator (in the case of an intestacy) needs to be appointed and will have legal responsibility for performing a number of tasks. Some of these tasks involve complying with the requirements of the Last Will and Testament or the Laws of New Jersey relating to estate administration and the powers and duties of Executors and Administrators. Other tasks involve compliance with a variety of tax laws.

     Some of the more significant tasks will include:

1.            Examination of the deceased's papers to locate assets, such as bank accounts and insurance policies.

2.            Collecting benefits, such as life insurance, veterans benefits, and refunds for prepaid services that are due to the estate or to beneficiaries.

3.            Notifying the post office and the Social Security Administration if the deceased was receiving Social Security payments.

4.            Canceling credit cards in the name of the deceased alone.

5.            Collecting all debts owing to the decedent or the deceased’s estate, and pursuing lawsuits on behalf of the estate should they be necessary.

6.            Preparation of an inventory of all property owned by the Trust at time of death and obtaining professional appraisals of assets whose value may not be immediately ascertainable, such as real estate or jewelry.

7.            Prudent management, protection, and investment of the property, including maintenance of appropriate property and liability insurance.

8.            Preparation of a list of all of the deceased's debts at the date of death.

9.            Payment of various debts and trust expenses.

10.        Transfer of the deceased's property to various beneficiaries who are to receive them either by Will or by way of Intestate Administration.

11.        Preparation and filing of the deceased's Federal and State income tax returns for the income received before death. Preparation of Earlier tax returns may be necessary should they not have been filed by the deceased.

12.        Preparation and filing of Federal income tax returns for the Estate. This will be required annually, with the returns being due on April 15 of each year.

13.        Giving written notice to all of the beneficiaries and heirs of the existence of the Estate, either by way of Last Will and Testament or Intestate Administration.

14.        Providing a full accounting to all of the beneficiaries or heirs of the assets, liabilities, income and expenses of the trust.

         You normally are entitled to a statutory fee (executor's commission / administrator's commission) for your performing these duties. However, most people cannot perform all of these duties without the professional assistance of an attorney, appraisers, and accountants. That is where we come in. We can help you perform these duties efficiently and competently and find other professionals to aid you in your duties.

         The Lawyers at Avery & Avery, have years of experience in guiding clients through the intricacies of Estate Administration. Call or write for a Free Consultation to discuss your needs.

When an executor / administrator takes over an estate and has to pay bills, the order of whom they pay first are determined by NJSA 3B:22-2, and are as follows:

Reasonable Funeral Costs

Costs and Expenses of Administration

Debts for the reasonable value of services rendered to the decedent by the office of the Public Guardian for Elderly Adults

Debts and taxes with preference under federal law or the laws of this State

Reasonable medical and hospital expenese of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending him;

Judgments entered against the decedent according to the priorities of their entries respectively;

All other claims

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