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 Bridgewater, 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 a will in Bridgewater, New Jersey is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to decide who should serve in that capacity.
This is normally the person who will benefit the most if the will is executed. If there is no will (a situation identified as "intestacy"), New Jersey has a system of laws distributing the decedent's property to his or her closest living relative. In such a situation, the closest living relative has the most to gain from an orderly administration of the estate, so they will normally be appointed.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Bridgewater, New Jersey to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Bridgewater, New Jersey Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you find yourself named in a will as executor of an estate, and aren't sure how to meet your responsibilities, or where to begin, it would be a good idea to consult with an efficient Bridgewater, New Jersey lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-difficult process.