- Family Law
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- Estate Administration and Litigation
Estate Administration and Litigation
Once you have been appointed as an executor, administrator or personal representative of the estate of a loved one, you will be required to administer the estate in accordance with the decedent’s will and the laws of the state of New Jersey. It is therefore important for you to have a clear understanding of your rights as well as your personal obligation in managing the estate. At Heymann & Fletcher, Esqs. we offer the knowledge and expertise you need to handle your estate administration responsibilities with the personal service and attention of a small law office.
We will handle all matters necessary to assist you through the probate process, including:
- Having you appointed by the Surrogate as the executor or administrator
- Notifying all beneficiaries and next of kin that the estate has been probated
- Marshalling the assets of the estate
- Assisting with payment of administration expenses
- Preparing an accounting of the debts and assets of the estate
- Securing property or other asset valuations
- Distribution of the estate in accordance with the terms of the will or, if there is no will, the laws of intestacy
- Preparing estate and inheritance tax returns
- Preparing final income tax returns for the decedent
- Assisting with the sale or transfer of property owned by the decedent
Probate and Administration of Testate Estates
If you are the personal representative appointed in the Will of the decedent, then you will be appointed by the Surrogate as the Executor of the estate. As Executor, you will be required to administer the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will, including the distribution of the residual estate to the beneficiaries designated in the Will.
Probate and Administration of Intestate Estates
If a loved one dies without a Will, then the laws of intestacy will govern the manner in which the estate is administered and distributed to the decedent’s next of kin. In this instance, the personal representative appointed by the Surrogate is called the Administrator of the estate, and has the same role as an Executor.
Estate Administration and Will Contest Disputes
Having a will or an estate plan does not guarantee disputes will not arise once the estate is probated. Beneficiaries of the estate, or other interested parties, may disagree about the terms of the Will or the administration of the estate and choose to bring legal action. At Heymann & Fletcher, Esqs., our experienced attorneys are equipped to handle all types of controversies related to or involving estates, including:
- Undue influence or fraud: A presumed beneficiary may be surprised to find that the decedent changed his or her will. In that case, concerns may be raised that the testator may have done so under pressure of another individual, or that the will itself is fraudulent. Legal action may therefore be necessary to contest the will.
- Misappropriated assets or contested accounting: Disputes may arise with respect to the personal representative’s management of estate assets, valuation of property or whether an estate has been properly administered in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Judicial intervention may be necessary to protect a beneficiary’s interests or remove the personal representative from his or her role as executive or administrator.
- Testamentary capacity: Questions may arise as to whether a testator had the mental capacity to create or alter a will, which may require beneficiaries or interest parties to contest the administration of the estate in accordance with the terms of the will.