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 Madison, 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 generally has at least some work cut out for them. This obviously raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to guarantee that the executor does his or her job is simply to appoint the person who has the most to gain from the will. That way, they cannot inherit until the process is done.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Madison, New Jersey will does not assign anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
Usually, this will be the person who has the most to gain 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 individual named is no longer alive or cannot be found, anyone with a direct interest in the will can apply to the Madison, New Jersey court to be the executor.
Whoever is assigned to serve as executor, it is their job to act as the representative of the estate. Among other jobs, they have to account for the decedent's debts and assets, and inform any beneficiaries who might be unaware of the situation.
Can a Madison, 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 reputable Madison, New Jersey wills and trusts attorney.