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 decedent wrote a will before his or her death in Princeton, New Jersey, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Frequently, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The executor usually has at least some work cut out for them. This apparently raises the issue of compensation. The easiest way to ensure 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 finished.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If the will in Princeton, 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.
Typically, the person chosen to be executor is the one who would benefit most under the will, or under New Jersey's intestacy laws. "Intestacy" refers to a situation in which a person dies without a will, or "dies intestate." Every state has laws to address this situation, and there isn't a lot of variation from state to state. Typically, the decedent's property will go to his or her closest relative, and if absolutely no living relatives can be found, it will go to the state.
When a will is silent as to who should be the executor, any person who has some direct interest in the outcome can ask to be named executor by the Princeton, New Jersey court.
Whoever ends up as the executor, it is their responsibility to serve as the personal representative of the estate. They will be responsible 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 Princeton, 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 knowledgeable Princeton, New Jersey wills and trusts attorney.