Estate administration seems easy from the outside, but it often requires a series of unfamiliar and arduous tasks that make it much more complex than it seems. Compounding this issue is the fact that the estate administrator or executor of the will is often a close friend or family member of the person who just passed on. This gives an emotional weight to the task, and asks a grieving person to focus on legal and financial matters while still mourning the loss of a beloved part of their life.
At Bratton Scott, an estate administration attorney in Ewing can provide you with the support and guidance you need through the entire estate administration process. Whether you are the executor of a will or the administrator of an estate, we can help you navigate the tasks associated with your role. Let our compassionate team guide through this tough time, while also helping settle the legal and financial matters. Call our office today: 856-857-6007.
What Is the Role of an Estate Administrator in Ewing, NJ?
As the administrator of an estate, you must ensure payment of your lost loved one’s final bills and oversee the dispersal of any assets as outlined in the will or other estate plan. In some cases, this is a quick and easy task. In many others, though, it is especially complex and stressful. Tasks may include:
- Gathering and valuing any assets
- Paying final bills
- Determining tax burden and filing the appropriate returns
- Distributing any remaining assets
- Obtaining waivers and filing releases
When you consider that some of these tasks require the skillset of an accountant, a lawyer, or an appraiser, it is no surprise that so many people become anxious and stressed about handling their loved one’s final affairs.
Our estate administration team can quickly put you at ease, eliminating that stress and making you feel confident you are in good hands. We can guide you through the probate and estate administration process, identify the resources you need, and provide comforting, compassionate support to your family.
What About Probate? How Do I Handle the Probate Process in NJ?
Probate is not something we recommend trying to navigate on your own. It is a fairly simple process, but the laws can be complex. It is often difficult to determine if a will requires probate on your own, much less navigate the required steps to enter it into probate. Our knowledgeable probate lawyers can help you understand how New Jersey’s probate laws apply to the will in your case.
The probate process is designed to reduce the instances of fraud. It certifies the will as authentic, and approves you as the executor. In some cases, it is not necessary to enter a will into probate. This is true if the deceased left a living spouse and had no individual assets. In other cases, a simple approval process is necessary to validate the will. We can help you determine if a will requires admittance to probate, and guide you through the NJ probate process.
If the will requires probate, this will be the first step of your estate administration duties. You will need to visit the local Surrogate’s Court and have the Surrogate, or an assigned clerk, probate the will. Often, this “court” takes place in the Surrogate’s office, and is no more complicated than renewing your vehicle tags.
During your visit, the Surrogate or the clerk will look at the will and authenticate the signature. You may need to take evidence with you; we can help you put this together beforehand.
Most wills today, however, are self-proving. This means they are not only signed by the deceased, but also by witnesses and notaries. The notaries emboss the paper with their stamp, assuring authenticity. Probating this type of will takes little more than glancing to ensure everything is in order.
What NJ Estate Administration Services Are Available from Bratton Scott?
As estate administration attorneys, the legal team at Bratton Scott can provide almost any estate administration or probate service necessary to settle an estate, from taking the will through probate to defending against litigation.
Support and Guidance
We pride ourselves on giving every client the utmost support and guidance possible throughout the entire process.
Our goal is to make your role as executor or administrator much easier, providing the resources you need to settle even the most high-value estate. Our attorneys, and support staff are available to you around the clock, providing care and knowledgeable answers to any questions you have.
A Thorough Understanding of Your Responsibilities and the Process
Some people just want a basic understanding of the task ahead of them, and we can provide a personalized outline of what they need to do to administer the estate. Others, though, want step-by-step guidance. We can meet you wherever you are in the process, and shoulder as much of the burden as you need. We can provide resources to handle the necessary accounting, and appraisals and valuing of assets.
Understanding Tax Implications
Calculating the tax burden is another step in the process where estate administrators often feel stress. None of us like paying taxes, and it always seems like somewhat of a guessing game unless you have an accountant or attorney familiar with the latest tax laws on your side.
We can help you understand all the tax implications associated with the estate, and how the decisions you make affect the value of the estate and the tax burden of those who inherit assets. We can explain the applicable federal estate taxes, as well as determine if there are any state taxes you may need to pay.
Some estates have trusts or planning giving pledges you will need to fund. We can help you ensure proper funding of all trusts and that your loved one’s favorite charity receives the donation pledged. Charitable giving from an estate also requires filing special paperwork to notify the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of the donation.
Most of the time, we help clients through the estate administration process and everything goes smoothly. Occasionally, though, another family member challenges the authenticity of the will, questions the administrator’s abilities, or raises other concerns. This type of dispute can quickly turn litigious. We can provide you with legal protections from any false allegations, and represent you in court if they file estate litigation. We will fight for the last wishes of your loved one, as dictated in their authentic will or estate plan.
Do Not Handle Estate Administration Alone. Call Us Today.
Bratton Scott offers consultations to executors and estate administrators. If you have questions about New Jersey probate or estate administration in Ewing, call us today at 856-857-6007.