Were you named in a loved one’s will and are now unsure of how to act? You may need to hire an experienced New Jersey personal representative lawyer to prepare you for what this process will look like. A personal representative attorney can help you with the process of probate.
Probate is often required after a loved one has passed away to ensure that all assets belonging to the estate have been properly dealt with, used to pay creditor claims or passed on to beneficiaries. Personal representatives may be able to handle this responsibility on their own but many of them turn to an area personal representative attorney to get support.
You’ll want to look for a New Jersey personal representative lawyer who has the right experience in administering probate as well as helping beneficiaries or personal representatives organize and distribute assets. Many people are not prepared for what is entailed by working as a personal representative. It can eb best to consult an attorney licensed in your area to be familiar with those laws so that you understand what is required for probate, which assets are not entered into probate and how to proceed.
Understanding the Probate Process
The probate process opens with the submission of the death certificate and other important paperwork to the local court in which the decedent lived. You can hire a personal representative attorney in New Jersey to work with you as early as this point in the case although you can also wait until later to retain a lawyer. Once this material has been set up, you’ll then need to publish a notice to creditors.
Creditors are people who can come forward and lay claim to assets inside the estate. Once creditor claims have been received and you have looked at all of the expenses linked to the estate, such as taxes, mortgage payments, and other responsibilities the estate assets may need to be sold or used to pay off these claims. From that point any remaining funds can be distributed to beneficiaries of the estate. But a personal representative should not overlook the responsibility that they hold. In fact, they can even be held personally accountable for getting rid of these assets too soon or giving them to beneficiaries when creditor claims or taxes were still pending.
A personal representative is the individual that is appointed to oversee the administration of a probate estate and it could be someone who is named in the decedent’s will or someone who has been appointed by the court because no will existed or no personal representative was appointed in a will that did exist. The personal representative must follow state law when administering the estate.
If a personal representative has not been named in the will, then the court will evaluate people in a specific order to determine who can serve as a personal representative. You might assume that you can handle this responsibility without a lawyer. However, it is strongly recommended that you have a personal representative attorney to help you. This is because you may discover that the estate is much more complicated than you expected or that other beneficiaries are challenging the actions that you have taken. You need to keep detailed records and be able to provide this information to court when necessary. It can also strain your relationships with existing family members if they believe that you should not serve in this role or that you have not done so appropriately. It can be very complicated to navigate the probate process in your state so you’ll want to have the help of someone who has done this before and someone who can give you greater peace of mind about the order in which you tackle these tasks.