When a testator drafts their will, they're required to appoint an executor to handle their estate once they've passed on. The person selected for this role should be trustworthy as they'll be responsible for paying final expenses and distributing assets to your heirs. This executor should be advised of their appointment to this role in advance so that they can learn more about their responsibilities.
One of the first steps that an executor should take after the testator dies is to locate and file their original will along with a certified copy of the testator's death certificate.
An executor may also be required to obtain a tax identification (ID) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to adequately administer an estate. They may also be required to obtain a surety bond or a type of insurance policy protecting creditors and beneficiaries unless the testator waives that requirement in their will.
There are many responsibilities that an executor has to handle once they file a testator's will and death certificate with the court.
They'll need to pay necessary fees, obtain a tax ID number and post their surety bond. It's their responsibility to set up a bank account for the estate and to inventory all assets and debts and to preserve their value. They're also responsible for informing all creditors and beneficiaries of the testator's death and also for paying all taxes and outstanding bills. All of this must occur before any assets are distributed to heirs.
If a creditor or heir feels as if an executor is taking too long to distribute the estate's assets, then they can request a Superior Court judge to intervene.
Before a judge compels an executor to distribute the assets, they'll want to make sure that the executor has been given ample opportunity to handle their responsibilities.
If a testator's will contains any charitable donations, then an executor has to notify the Attorney General of New Jersey of any such bequests by drafting an affidavit.
It's an honor to be appointed to the role of executor. However, individuals selected for this role often aren't clear about their assigned responsibilities and thus make mistakes. If you've been appointed as executor and you want to do things correctly, then you should let an estate administration attorney provide you with guidance through the probate process.