This blog has previously discussed the topic of guardianships in New Jersey. In the absence of a valid power of attorney, a family may need to request a guardianship over an adult, such as an aging parent or even an adult child, who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.
Not surprisingly, many New Jersey residents die owing various other individuals and businesses money. In some cases, these are well established debts like a medical bill or a credit card. In other cases, though, the debt may arise under more controversial circumstances.
When a New Jersey resident dies without a will, then the laws of this state determine who gets what share of his or her property. These rules also apply when the person's will is invalid or if the will does not provide for a particular piece of the person's overall estate.
A previous post on this blog talked about the ongoing legal conflict surrounding the estate of the late, great singer Aretha Franklin. The so-called Queen of Soul died last year.
As this blog has discussed before, executors and personal representatives in New Jersey have a lot of obligations they are expected to fulfill in a timely fashion. To summarize, their job is to collect the assets of a deceased loved one, pay off all valid debts and expenses and then distribute whatever is left to the heirs according to either the law or the terms of the will.
As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, executors of estates in New Jersey have a lot of things that they need to do. Many of the items on their to-do list are legal requirements that come with important deadlines or timeframes.
Many people in New Jersey have parents and other relatives who are older, sick or otherwise suffering under a disability. Such conditions can make it hard for such people to make financial and other decisions for themselves.
In the context of administering a New Jersey estate that is going through the probate process, perhaps the person with the most important role is the executor, who may also be referred to as a fiduciary, an administrator or a personal representative.
One of the most important jobs the executor of a will has is to place values on the different assets of the estate. In many cases, this is relatively straightforward. For instance, with respect to a bank account or other liquid asset, it may just be a matter of figuring out the account's balance at the time of death. In other cases, such as in the case of a car, the process may be a little harder, but there will usually be other similar vehicles one can compare the car to to guess the vehicle's value.
Even a New Jersey resident who has some experience with the law or with financial matters may feel a bit overwhelmed when he or she finds out that he or she has been named as the executor or administrator of an estate.