Probate is a formal court process meant to settle a deceased person’s estate. It includes a lot of steps that should be taken based on New Jersey laws and the wishes stipulated in the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. The Will names an executor who shall marshal and distribute an estate’s assets. While the probate process must not be overly-complicated, problems can arise at any time. Because of this, Cherry Hill NJ Probate Lawyers must be hired to handle such issues effectively. There are a lot of probate mistakes that can be, especially if the Executor does not have access to legal advice. These include the following:
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Not Keeping Accurate Records
A New Jersey estate can only be closed when the Executor presents every beneficiary with an accounting of its assets. The Executor must disclose the exact bills that must be paid or the distributions to be made. Without accurate records in place, it won’t be possible to come up with accurate accounting. In this case, serious issues can arise with the designated beneficiaries and the final distributions. The Executor should be detail-oriented and must be able to itemize disbursements correctly.
Not Communicating with Beneficiaries
When the estate administration process starts, the Executor must inform the beneficiaries about the opening of probate. Both parties must communicate constantly throughout the process. If the beneficiaries do not get enough information on how probate is unfolding, they could feel apprehensive. In terms of probate, things can quickly become out of control when the process is not done smoothly.
Distributing Assets Prematurely
The Executor must approve the transfer or distribution of a deceased person’s assets. But they must settle the estate’s debts first before this can happen. Creditors must be prioritized. Not paying the debts and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries can put the Executor in a tough position. They may need to try to get back the distributed assets from the beneficiaries when the remaining assets are not enough to cover such debts.
Not Opening Probate on Time
As the Executor, you should fulfill your responsibilities promptly. You must not put off the probate process for a long time. Under state law, you wait 10 days following the death of a deceased person to open probate. Thus, you should try to open probate shortly after the death to avoid problems with beneficiaries not getting distributions on time. Keep in mind that while the state has no estate tax, inheritance and federal tax may be owed that must be paid within a period from the date of date.
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