When someone names you the executor of his or her estate in New Jersey, it is a large responsibility. You will not typically have to do anything until the person dies, but upon the person naming you the executive, there are some things you should consider. The main being if you want to serve in this role or not.
Being an executor means that you will have to carry out the wishes of the deceased and ensure that the final handling of his or her estate goes exactly as he or she planned. This can be trickier than it may seem. AARP explains that you will have a lot of trust put in you to handle the estate assets properly, especially before distribution.
You will have to manage the financial aspects of the estate, which is something that you may not feel qualified to do and that could make you turn down the honor. You also need to be able to find all the assets. If the person was well-organized, then this may not be difficult, but in some cases, it means digging around to find them. The same is true for heirs. You may have to hunt them down.
As you can imagine, being an executor will require a fair time commitment. You have to see things through until the closing of the estate, which could take years. In that time, you still must manage the estate and all the paperwork it involves.
You also must familiarize yourself with the laws concerning estate administration. There are many details, especially when it comes to timelines of when you must do certain things. You may also have to answer to the court and follow court rulings. It is a complex process.
Acting as an estate administrator is not for everyone. If you feel you cannot handle the task, then you should discuss it with the person right away. This information is for education and is not legal advice.