Duties of the Executor/Administrator
in New Jersey Estate Administration
Written by New Jersey Estate Administration Lawyer Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. (Read more about Mr. Niemann here)
AN EXECUTOR OF A WILL HAS MANY LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS PART OF NJ ESTATE ADMINISTRATION: GENERALLY, THEY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- Authenticate the Will with the County Surrogate. Apply for “Letters of Administration” when there is no Will. When a Will is probated in NJ, all beneficiaries named in the Will, spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner and next of kin must be notified in writing that a Will has been lodged for probate. Formalities must be followed as provided by law.
- The Executor must diligently research and find the whereabouts of all property owned by the deceased at death.
- The Executor must open an estate checking account or other depository for estate monies. Application must be made to the I.R.S. for the Tax I.D. number(s). Other tax formalities required under the New Jersey Estate Administration Code must be followed.
- Obtain information as to all outstanding bills, debts and legal obligations of the deceased. (NOTE: With proper procedure it is possible for the Executor or Administrator to request an Order to Limit Creditors issued by the Surrogate to protect against undiscovered obligations.) There are many statutory liens and other potential liabilities that must be researched and satisfied otherwise the estate representative (Executor, Administrator, Personal Representative) can be held personally liable if unpaid. This is a significant legal risk that must be understood by the Executor, estate administrator and personal representative.
- Organize and pay all uncontested bills and resolve all issues regarding questionable bills, debts and/or legal obligations. Both the Federal Government and the State of New Jersey require valuations of assets as of date of death or sometime thereafter, known as an alternate valuation date. Questionable and/or disputed bills must be addressed and resolved or the Executor’s estate, Administrator and Personal Representative can be held liable.
- File the applicable NJ and federal estate, inheritance, and income tax returns. There are statutory time limits required for these filings to avoid interest and penalties to the estate and beneficiaries.
- Perform all necessary requirements under the will and under NJ law in order to transfer property out of deceased’s name to beneficiaries. If property of the decedent is located outside of New Jersey, additional proceedings are sometimes necessary (Often referred to as ancillary probate), which means probating the will of the decedent in a state outside of NJ in order to legally transfer ownership of the property to the legal beneficiaries.
Other Obligations of the Executor/Administrator in New Jersey Estate Administration Include the Following:
An executor/administrator must pay all obligations of estate administration including counsel fees, executor’s fees, accountant’s fees. (NOTE: An Executor/Administrator is entitled by law to a fee or commission their services.)
When all obligations of the estate are satisfied, disburse inheritance(s) to beneficiaries. Have each beneficiary execute a Refunding Bond and Release for the amount of inheritance received. Failure to obtain this document subjects the Executor to claims by creditors.
Cause to be filed all Refunding Bonds and Releases with the Surrogate’s Office. Failure to obtain this document subjects the Executor to claims by creditors.
Obtain a New Jersey Tax Waiver(s). A tax waiver is a document issued by the State of New Jersey which releases the property from any tax claim by the State. In order to acquire a tax waiver, all death and inheritance taxes due to the State must be paid. If no taxes are due, a form must be filed to demonstrate to the New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax Bureau that the estate property is exempt. Upon evidence that the estate is exempt from taxes and/or payment of any taxes due, the State will issue a tax waiver. Upon receipt, the tax waiver must be presented to the county clerk in the county where the property is located.
Duties of the Executor/Administrator in New Jersey Estate Administration
Fred Niemann, NJ Estate Administration Lawyer
In order to protect and ensure that all functions of the executor/administrator are performed properly, it is wise to consult with Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. who is an estate administration and probate attorney in New Jersey. He can be reached toll-free at
(855) 376-5291 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. has working relationships with many New Jersey County Surrogate offices.