When a person dies, a process known as "estate administration" must be carried out. This refers to all the processes which must be followed in distributing a person's estate to their heirs or devisees.

If the decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, the process will be carried out according to the directives included in the will, assuming they are legitimate and enforceable.

Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.

The executor is often the person who will get the most money or property out of the will if it is given effect, because this is the person who will have the greatest incentive to see that the probate process goes as rapidly as possible.

What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?

If a will in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey is silent as to who should be the executor, it is up to the court to determine who should serve in that capacity.

This is most often 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 determine how property is distributed in such a situation. In most states, it simply goes to the closest living relative.

In cases where the will doesn't name an executor, or the person named is unable to take on that role for whatever reason, any person who has some direct share in the decedent's estate (either because they're named in the will or stand to inherit by intestacy) can petition a Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey court to be assigned executor.

Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be accountable for taking account of all of the decedent's assets and debts, as well as notifying beneficiaries who may be estranged from the decedent, among other things.

Can a Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey Estate Administration Attorney Help?

Some people are surprised when they find out they've been named the executor of a relative's estate. The responsibilities can seem daunting, but with the help of a reputable Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey attorney, the process almost always goes pretty smoothly.