When a person dies, a process recognized 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 decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Highlands, New Jersey, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Commonly, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor is commonly 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 quickly as possible.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Highlands, New Jersey does not name an executor, or the decedent left no will to be found, the court has to appoint a person to serve as the administrator of the estate.
Normally, this will be the person who has the most to receive from the will, or who would gain the most under New Jersey's intestacy scheme (the system that distributes the decedent's property to his or her closest living relatives, if he or she dies without a will).
If the will doesn't name a person who is to serve as executor, or the person named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Highlands, New Jersey court to be the executor.
Once an executor is finally named, he or she becomes responsible for serving as the living embodiment of the estate, using all legal means to protect the estate's interests (such as mounting plausible legal defenses against creditors).
Can a Highlands, 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 accomplished Highlands, New Jersey lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-perplexing process.