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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
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Part one: Responsibilities of executors; handling portability

When a person dies, everything is his or her estate must be transferred to other people. The directions in the will must be followed, beneficiaries must be identified, and assets need to be distributed. And all of this must be done in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one. So who is responsible for handling all the affairs of a recently deceased person? Typically, all those responsibilities lie with the executor.

When an individual in New Jersey creates an estate plan, one of the things he or she must do is name an executor. The executor oversees every aspect of the estate, and he or she remains in charge of it until it is legally closed. Because the executor is responsible for handling so many parts of the estate, it is important to choose the right person for the job.

A recent article in the New York Times talked about the varying responsibilities of the executor. Those responsibilities include paying creditors and taxes, overseeing any will contests, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. Because the process can be complex, it may take years before everything is legally finalized.

In case that enough responsibility, last December, President Obama signed a new tax law which gave executors even more responsibilities. Under the new law, widows can receive a special tax break. If a deceased person does not reach the $5 million federal tax exclusion, the remaining amount can be transferred to the surviving spouse.

The new tax break is referred to as portability, and that is one more responsibility for the executor. In order to qualify for portability, the executor must file an estate tax return within nine months of the death, even if no tax is owed.

Because there is so much resting on the executor, it is critical to choose someone who can handle the process efficiently. Read more in the next post to learn more about how you should choose an executor who has the skill set to settle the estate.

Source: The New York Times, "Choosing the Right Executor for Your Estate," Deborah L. Jacobs, 2 March 2011

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