Red Bank and Marlton Estate Administration Lawyers
Estate Administration is the process of gathering, managing, and distributing the assets of someone who has passed away. Estate administration can be a complex and time-consuming process that by definition has to take place as you grieve the loss of a loved one. Even with a will and good estate planning, the execution of a will involves complex interactions between the courts, financial institutions, taxing authorities, and beneficiaries. The Red Bank and Middletown estate lawyers at McOmber & McOmber offer their experience and guidance to assist in the successful completion of the estate administration process.
Probate is a court procedure. When a person passes away, some assets are set up to transfer. Insurance policies have beneficiaries for example. The total assets left after these transfers have been made is called the probate estate. The probate estate will be submitted to the probate court which determines if the will for the estate is valid. If there is no will or the will is declared invalid, the probate court appoints an administrator for the estate. The probate laws of each state govern how an estate is administered and what is required.
The executor is named in the will as the person responsible for the administration of an estate. This person must do the following:
- Identify, collect, and appraise the assets of the estate. Some assets may also need to be maintained or managed until they are distributed. This may include deciding which assets to keep and which to sell.
- Pay and/or collect the debts of the estate, file and pay the estate taxes. Other financial duties include setting up accounts for the management of the estate, notifying banks and other agencies, such as social security, of the death, and canceling credit cards.
- Distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries as designated in the will.
If no will exists, the probate court will appoint someone as administrator for the estate. The executor must act in good faith on behalf of the estate. If any assets are not properly managed causing the estate to lose value, the executor may be required to reimburse the estate for its losses.
In a complicated probate process, the executor may hire an attorney to assist with the estate administration and the expense will be covered by the estate. Although the executor may not profit from the sale of any estate property, he/she may receive a fee in return for administering the estate.
The absence of a valid will is called intestacy and each state has its own laws regarding what happens when a person dies intestate. Generally, the deceased’s property is distributed to the surviving spouse or partner, children, or other close relations.
When someone passes away with debt in their name, often creditors will come to the surviving relatives to collect what they are owed. It is important to know your rights regarding the debts of the deceased during what is already an emotionally stressful time. If the decedent has left debt, the estate must pay the creditors. Once the assets of the estate are exhausted, the debt generally dies along with the deceased. Only someone who co-owned the debt, or substantially benefited from a debt (such as a personal loan) is responsible for debts left after death. Many creditors will contact family members to try to collect debts after someone has died. Usually, there is no legal obligation to do so, even a spouse’s obligations may be limited by probate law. You may want the counsel of an experienced estate administration lawyer to protect yourself, and above all do not give out personal information such as account numbers or your social security number to people claiming to be debt collectors.
Red Bank and Marlton Estate Administration Lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. Offer Services to Families
Estate administration can be a complex and time-consuming process that by definition has to take place as you grieve the loss of a loved one. The caring Marlton estate administration lawyers at McOmber & McOmber can guide you through the many necessary legal procedures for resolving an estate. With our help, you will be able to focus on your family and the future. If you have any questions about estate administration call us at 732-842-6500 or at 856-985-9800 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Red Bank, Marlton, Middletown, and Cherry Hill.