What Are The Duties Of An Estate Executor?

Serving as executor of a deceased person's estate is an honor, but also a challenge. An attorney can assist the executor with submitting the decedent's last will and testament to the county surrogate for probate. Katkocin Law Office can help navigate the executor through the time-consuming and often complicated estate administration process.

An estate executor also must marshal the decedent's assets, pay the decedent's debts and make distributions according to the decedent's will. In the midst of doing that, the executor sometimes must also:

  • Sell real estate and maintain real estate until the property is sold.
  • Pay taxes such as: property tax, estate tax, inheritance tax and income tax.
  • As a fiduciary of the estate, account to the beneficiaries.
  • If a beneficiary is a charitable organization, the executor may have to deal with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office if a charitable organization is a beneficiary under the last will and testament.

Which Estates Are Subject To An Estate Tax?

  • In New Jersey, estates valued in excess of $2,000,000 are subjected to a state estate tax and must file a tax return.
  • Estates exceeding $5.49 million in value also may be subjected to a federal estate tax.
  • Certain classes of beneficiaries in New Jersey must pay an inheritance tax. Moreover, the estate may be required to pay income tax on income accumulated prior to the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries.

The responsibility for the timely filing of tax returns and payment of taxes lies with the executor. The executor also may be required to provide statements to the IRS and to beneficiaries from an estate required to file a federal estate tax return.

The executor seeks closure of the estate administration by receiving written notification from the applicable taxing authority. The executor closes the estate by filing with the county surrogate signed and notarized release and refunding bonds from the beneficiaries.

I Have Been Named Executor And Need Guidance. Where Can I Turn For Help?

An executor can fulfill his or her obligation to account to the beneficiaries by filing a formal accounting with the court. An executor also may obtain the beneficiaries' consent to an informal accounting, which need not be filed with the court.

For someone not familiar with the intricate details of the law, the process can be daunting and time-consuming. Speak with a lawyer at Katkocin Law Office in Medford, New Jersey, at 856-283-0800 to learn more or send an email. I serve the entire Burlington County area.