Being appointed an executor for an estate in New Jersey comes with many responsibilities. As part of your executor duties, you must identify and locate all estate assets, value them and distribute them to the intended heirs and/or use them to pay off the estate debts.
Once you have identified and located the assets, you need to prepare an inventory of the state. The inventory should also include the estate’s debts. It can help to think of an estate inventory as a balance sheet of the estate.
There are many common items that are included in an estate inventory. Some of them are more obvious than others, such as real estate and personal property, but items such as bank and other financial accounts, business interests and retirement accounts are also assets that are included in an inventory.
Additionally, if the decedent was involved in a business, the estate inventory must include any business interests and intellectual property they owned.
When it comes to debts, all debts in the decedent’s name must be included in the estate inventory. Mortgages, loans, credit card debt and outstanding tax liability are all examples of debts that become part of the inventory.
There are generally no rules about how big or small and asset or debt has to be to be part of the estate inventory.
Assistance is available
Preparing an estate inventory may sound like a long and complicated process, and sometimes it is. However, it is important to take the time to thoroughly research all assets and debts, since if additional assets or debts are later uncovered, you will need to redo and submit a new inventory.
Your duties as an executor should be taken seriously. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Professionals who are experienced with estate administration and can guide you through the inventory process.