Serving as the executor of an estate

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Serving As The Executor Of An Estate

You may have felt honored when your family member asked if you would be willing to accept the role of executor of his or her New Jersey estate plan. Now that you actually have to fulfill the duties, it may seem a little intimidating. We at Ritigstein Law, LLC, often assist executors in their administration tasks.

Here are some responsibilities that are typical for closing out an estate.

Begin the probate process notes that the first step after your family member has died is to locate and submit the will to the probate court with jurisdiction over the area where the testator resided at the time of his or her death. At that time, the judge should formally appoint you with the authority to fulfill your role as executor.

Take care of assets, debts and taxes

You should find the keys to houses, vehicles, safe deposit boxes and other assets, as you will be responsible for taking care of the assets until you distribute them to the appropriate beneficiaries. This includes making payments on debts and expenses out of the testator’s estate.

The estate owes taxes after the testator dies, so one of your responsibilities will be identifying all the assets so that you can get an accurate total value. If there are not enough assets to pay the debts and taxes of the estate, you may have to liquidate some assets, even if this means the beneficiaries do not receive the full amount that the will states they should have.

Distribute assets to beneficiaries

Once you have completed all the other duties, you can distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the testator’s wishes and close the estate.

For more information about the probate process, please visit our webpage.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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