Fairfield, New Jersey has a legal process known as "probate." This is when a court decides whether or not a will is binding, and, accordingly, whether or not to effectuate its provisions.
As part of the probate procedure, the court in Fairfield, New Jersey will determine the validity of the will, inventory the decedent's assets and debts, then, assuming everything is found to be in order, distribute the estate according to the will.
Usually, the executor of the estate is named in the will. However, if nobody is named as an executor, the probate court in Fairfield, New Jersey will appoint an administrator to serve the role as the executor. This is usually the closest adult relative of the decedent, or the person who stands to inherit the most.
The executor is the person responsible for initiating the probate proceedings. The person who would inherit the most from the will is appointed, because they have the greatest incitement to move the process along as quickly as possible, so they can get their inheritance.
Duties of the Executor in Fairfield, New Jersey
There are quite a few things that an executor is responsible for. At the outset, they are required to file the probate action with the appropriate court. No progress, let alone any final disposition of the estate, can be made until this happens.
The executor also has to give those with a direct interest in the will notice that the decedent has died, by filing an official death certificate.
Executors are also required to make available an accounting of the testator's debts and assets, so their affairs can be wound up, along with a list of everyone who is named in the will, or otherwise stands to inherit.
Because the executor serves as the living symbol of the decedent's estate, they are solely responsible for proving the validity of the will. This is a lot of work, but because executors are usually chosen based on how much they stand to inherit from a will once its validity is confirmed, they have a good incentive to see the process to completion.
How Can A Fairfield, New Jersey Lawyer Help?
Because this process can be fairly complicated, it is not a bad idea to consult with a good probate lawyer in Fairfield, New Jersey, especially if you find yourself as the executor of an estate and don't know how to proceed.