Being an executor is a big responsibility. Arranging and following the estate through probate, taxes and proper division of assets involves a lot of paperwork and waiting.
New Jersey’s Division of Taxation provides a pamphlet with guidance to your first few steps. This includes waivers and tax forms to determine inheritance tax and other details, as well as releasing assets like bank accounts and stocks to you to distribute.
Being proactive can help spur this process along, but it is important to note that these waivers and returns may take months. For the 40 or 50% of returns requiring extra scrutiny (in the form of audits), this timeline can stretch out months further. It falls to your responsibility to be there and up to date throughout the entire timeline.
Someone trusted you enough with their affairs after they died. Whether you are a child or spouse of the decedent, or a close, reliable friend, it is important that you are honest, organized and a good communicator. You will be paying the remaining amount of debts owed, distributing assets as determined in their will and generally tying up loose ends.
It is vital you communicate before and during this process. Talking with your decedent beforehand can clear up any confusion regarding their wishes. Receiving consultations from accountants or legal teams can help untangle the paperwork and forms you need. Though this blog is not legal advice, we recommend you do your due diligence. But if they trusted you as executor, you probably have the skills and determination to make it through this difficult and complex time.