When a person dies, a process identified as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the procedures which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.
If the person who died made and executed a valid will in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, the process of estate administration typically follows the procedures and instructions laid out in the will.
Most frequently, a will names a person to serve as executor, whose job it is to ensure that the estate is properly administered.
The executor is typically whoever stands to obtain the most money or property if the will is given effect, since that is the person who likely has the most incentive to do their part in seeing that the probate process plays out to completion.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If an Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
This is most frequently the person who would inherit most under the will, or under the intestacy scheme of New Jersey. Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a will, or if a will turns out to be invalid. The intestacy laws of each state control how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
When the executor is chosen, they serve as a sort of incarnation of the decedent's estate - the estate's legal interests become the executor's interests, and the executor is expected to protect the estate's interests as they would their own.
Can a Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you have unexpectedly been appointed to be the executor of a relative's estate, and don't know how to handle this process, you should speak with a knowledgeable Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey wills and trusts attorney.