Key points about estate administration, inventory and appraisal

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Estate Administration |

In New Jersey, estate administrators will have a significant role in the distribution of a person’s assets after they have died. While it is an emotional and sometimes overwhelming time, probate is necessary to ensure the testator’s property will be distributed as they desired and stated in their estate plan.

There are many factors to consider. The property itself is obviously important. In many instances, it needs to be inventoried and appraised. Understanding the law for these matters is essential and from the start. It is useful to have legal guidance to ensure full adherence to the law and a smooth process.

Inventory and appraisal can be part of probate

A full inventory of the testator’s property may be necessary during probate. According to state law, the decedent’s property will be subject to a true and perfect inventory and appraisal if it is ordered by the court or if there is a family exemption that will be protected from creditors. The appraisal must be made by two impartial individuals. There cannot be an appraisal ordered until three months have elapsed from the grant of letters for the will to be administered apart from cases in which there is a family exemption. Then it can be done within three months.

The personal representative appoints the appraisers. The surrogate or the Superior Court must approve of the selections unless it is part of the exemption for the family. Neither of the two appraisers can be interested parties in the case. They must be fully aboveboard and independent. They will be sworn in to give an honest and impartial appraisal based on the value of the property. The value will not be what it would be sold for, but what it is deemed to be worth. This can be a key distinction with real estate, collectibles and more.

Representatives should know the legal requirements

Determining what property is there and its value can be one of the most difficult aspects of estate administration. People may have an idea as to what properties the testator held, but until they have a full and complete inventory, it is easy to miss certain items. This also impacts the value. Many properties that are hidden away have immense value. It is crucial to be aware of the law for inventory and appraisal and to have professional assistance with it from the outset.

FindLaw Network

RSS Feed