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 Spring Lake Heights, 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 person named as executor of an estate typically has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they truly follow through on their obligations, most people name as executor the person who will get the most money, or other benefit, if the will is given effect as written. Because an estate can't be distributed until the administration process is complete, the executor has an incentive to see it through.
What if The Will Does Not Name an Executor?
If a Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey will does not appoint anyone to serve as executor, or there is no will, the court has to choose someone to fill that role.
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.
If no executor is named in the will, anyone with a stake in the will can apply to the court in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey to be the executor of the estate, if they wish.
Once an executor is appointed (whether by being named in the will, or on the application of another person), they "step into the shoes" of the estate, and are expected to protect its interests to the fullest extent possible. They also are required to accurately inventory the estate's debts and assets, as well as notify potential beneficiaries.
Can a Spring Lake Heights, 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 efficient Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey lawyer who can help you navigate this sometimes-perplexing process.