What Should Executors Disclose to Beneficiaries?
Executors undertake many duties while assuring the proper division of assets according to the wishes of the deceased. The responsibilities must be performed in accordance with the laws of the state in which the testator resided.
If the person had died without a will, the court would identify an administrator to manage the estate with the same responsibilities as a named executor.
The executor or administrator of an estate becomes a fiduciary bestowed with authority to make essential decisions that conform to the high standards of execution required by law.
In general terms, the executor’s duties include:
- Locating heirs and beneficiaries
- Identifying, gathering, and safeguarding all the deceased’s assets
- Appraising property to determine the value
- Paying all debts and taxes owed by the estate
- Selling or transferring title to properties like real estate, vehicles, and other assets.
- Providing an accounting of the net assets to the beneficiaries.
Estates can be complicated, and the executor should consider hiring an experienced estate lawyer to help manage the distribution of the assets. Payment for this assistance is paid from the assets in the estate before any distribution to the beneficiaries.
Disclosing Accounting Information to the Beneficiaries
In New Jersey, the executor is required to disclose to the beneficiaries all actions undertaken to liquidate the estate. The individual must be able to supply support documentation regarding the distribution of any assets and specify the recipients.
In instances where family members are reasonably close, and each beneficiary is aware of the assets and liabilities in the estate, challenges to the executor and their accounting for assets do not usually occur.
However, not all family relationships are good. Beneficiaries who do not trust the appointed executor, or feel that actions taken have unfairly enriched others, have the legal right to view a detailed accounting of the estate’s assets.
The accounting should list:
- All assets at the time of the decedent’s passing.
- Changes in the value of the assets since the decedent’s death
- All taxes and liabilities paid from the estate, including medical expenses, attorney fees, burial or cremation expenses, estate sale costs, appraisal expenses, and more. The executor should keep all receipts for any services or transactions needed to liquidate the assets of the deceased.
Accuracy is critical in these situations. Inadvertent mistakes or oversights can raise questions of integrity and justify a challenge to the distribution of the assets. These circumstances always result in delays and additional legal costs.
Consult a Reputable New Jersey Estate Attorney
Beneficiaries have the right to an accurate accounting of all activities and transactions involving the management of the estate. To ensure a smooth transition, particularly when the affairs of the estate are complex, consulting an experienced and proven estate lawyer in New Jersey is essential.
A proven estate lawyer like Nicholas A. Giuditta III in Westfield NJ can help executors follow the guidelines established by New Jersey law and ensure the error-free management of the estate.
With over three decades of experience in Elder and Estate Law, Mr. Giuditta understands all the challenges and protocols that executors must face.
Making sure that each asset and liability of the estate is handled appropriately, the accounting has been properly administered, and all documentation is well-presented are essential elements of a smooth, unchallenged estate administration. An experienced estate lawyer can eliminate doubt and distrust.
Contact the Office of Nicholas A. Giuditta III for a friendly and straight-forward discussion of any aspects of New Jersey estate planning, execution, or administration.
To schedule your initial consultation, phone (908)-232-0099.
Or you may visit the Giuditta Law Firm website Contact Page and enter your information and phone number, and one of the professionals will contact you to set up an appointment.