Many people are terrified by the thought of making a will or going through a probate process for a will for which they are named executor. However, New Jersey probate does not have to be a difficult process, especially when the person making a will uses proper planning and matches the right type of estate plan to the size and scope of the estate in question.
Probate simply means the way the court verifies a last will and testament. It is the job of the probate court to ensure that the bills that the deceased person owed are paid, that the deceased person’s property is distributed as he or she intended and that all other details of the person’s estate are handled. A personal representative, known as the executor if male or executrix if female, is appointed to see that the person’s wishes are carried out.
Depending on the estate’s size, probate may take some time to complete. The executor must pay all the bills and taxes required by law, distribute assets to heirs as directed by the will and ensure that all requirements of the will are met. If this involves setting up trusts and other special accounts, it may be some time before the process is complete. Once the executor or executrix has completed all requirements of the will, the probate can be discharged and the executor released from obligations.
In order to make a sound estate plan, many people choose to rely on the help of an estate attorney. An attorney may be able to help the individual draw up a valid will and appoint a trustworthy person to manage the estate and handle all transactions after the testator’s death.
Source: The Florida Times-Union, “Estate planning in mixed company,” Rusty Collins, April 4, 2013