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Does serving as the executor of an estate come at a cost?

It's a great honor to be chosen as the executor of someone's estate. It means that the testator, or the person writing the will, has a great deal of respect for you and that they trust you to carry out their final wishes. Being chosen as the executor of someone's estate does come at a price though.

Serving the role as executor of someone's estate can take a lot of time. You will spend a lot of time running back and forth filing paperwork with the county probate court. You'll have to prepare the testator's final tax return and negotiate with their creditors. You'll have to inventory their assets and reach out to their heirs to make sure that they receive what they're due. There are many other responsibilities that you have in this role as well.

There's also the potential of you having out-of-pocket costs in this role. While most jurisdictions allow executors to receive pay from the estate for carrying out their duties, it may not be paid until the case is settled. This may mean that you have to foot the bill for any expenses that you incur until that happens.

Another drawback to serving as the executor of an estate is that you may expose yourself to potential personal legal liabilities. If you fail to pay the testator's final tax obligation before disbursing any assets to their heirs, then you may be on the hook for paying any amount that is due to the federal or state revenue authorities yourself.

Dealing with co-executors or heirs can also be quite stressful, especially if you have a difference in opinion about how things should be handled or how fast you're moving. Any interpersonal conflicts may result in time-consuming and costly litigation that drags on for years.

The role of a New Jersey executor of an estate requires a time commitment not all that different from a part-time job. If you're preparing to draft your will and you're considering who you should appoint to the role of executor, then you should be clear with them about this.

An attorney can advise you of added complexities that you'll need to keep in mind when selecting an executor of your Middlesex estate.

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