When a person dies, a process known 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 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, the process will be carried out according to the directives contained in the will, assuming they are valid and enforceable.
Often, the will appoints an executor whose job it is to oversee the administration of the will.
The person named as executor of an estate usually has some work ahead of them. To ensure that they actually 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 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey will does not name an executor, or no will exists or can be found, it's up to the local court to decide who should be the executor.
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).
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 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey court.
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 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey Estate Administration Attorney Help?
If you are the administrator of an estate, and are not a legal and/or financial professional, you might encounter legal or tax issues with which you are unfamiliar. A Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey attorney would be very helpful in such a situation.