Paramus Probate Attorneys Settle Estates Throughout NJ and NYC
Knowledgeable assistance for executors throughout the process
Probate is the process of settling a deceased person’s financial affairs and passing remaining assets on to heirs. Probate is also the name of the special court that oversees this process. The probate process is detailed and can be daunting for anyone who has never done it before, even if the estate is relatively modest. Fortunately, Whitlock Canter LLC provides reliable probate and estate administration services throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City. Our experienced probate lawyers manage all the necessary tasks quickly and efficiently. With our help, heirs can have peace of mind and receive estate assets in a timely manner.
Basics of probate in New Jersey
If a person dies with a will, a representative of the deceased must present the will to the probate court for validation, a step often referred to as “probating the will.” A will generally names a person to act as executor, acting to settle the estate according to the law and the terms of the will. If the person died intestate (without a will), someone, usually a close relative, may serve as the estate administrator, settling the estate according to the law. The duties of an executor and an estate administrator are virtually the same:
- Identify assets and property
- Settle the estate’s debts
- Pay income tax and estate taxes
- Collect amounts owed the estate
- Identify and locate heirs
- Transfer assets to heirs
The difference is that an executor transfers assets according to the terms of a will, and the estate administrator transfers assets according to the state’s laws of inheritance. In many cases, some assets must be liquidated to pay the estate’s bills. State law allows executors and estate administrators to charge a reasonable fee to the estate for their services.
Why you should hire an experienced probate lawyer
When a loved one dies, families feel the loss acutely. Family members often feel a sense of personal obligation to settle the estate themselves rather than seeking professional assistance. Unfortunately, this often creates problems for the person settling the estate and relatives outside the process who can become impatient with the pace and frustrated with the results.
Anyone attempting to act as an executor or estate administrator should also realize they are assuming a fiduciary duty. They can be held personally liable for mistakes made during probate that cause financial losses to the estate or delays in releasing assets. Even if the estate representative makes no mistakes, attempting to settle even a modest estate while working full time inevitably slows the process.
When the transfer of assets is delayed, what can happen? Stocks can lose value, property can fall into disrepair, storage bills can accumulate, all causing loss to the estate. If the representative’s conduct has been unreasonable, he or she can be held responsible for those losses.
The better way to proceed is to hire an experienced professional to guide you through the probate process. At Whitlock Canter LLC, you get knowledgeable counsel and personalized service. We guard against mistakes and work swiftly to minimize any delays in the settling of the estate and the transfer of assets. Our fees are reasonable, and the security you enjoy by working with us is well worth the price.
Contact our Paramus law firm for efficient and trustworthy probate services
The experienced attorneys of Whitlock Canter LLC provide reliable probate and estate administration services throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City. To schedule a consultation, give us a call today at 201-397-1188 or contact us online.