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New Jersey Probate and Will quest

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Silverspec

New member
Hello,
My wife and her brother are the executors of their fathers will. Father is still alive just trying to be prepared.
-is a probate lawyer necessary. It seems easy enough to contact the surrogate court and get things started.
-is it necessary to open an account for the estate(if so how to go about this)
-Do we need a lawyer to help administer the assets, if so what is the cost? Can we just use and accountant? Owns house, stocks bonds IRAs etc.
-Brother who is the other executor lives in PA any effect?
-is having 2 executers goin got cause any problems?
-all family members get along we see no contesting

thank you!
 


adjusterjack

Senior Member
is a probate lawyer necessary.
Depends on the size and complexity of the estate.

It seems easy enough to contact the surrogate court and get things started.
True. For small estates. My mother's estate wasn't too complicated in NYC.

is it necessary to open an account for the estate(if so how to go about this)
Yes. First the nominated executor gets the court papers authorizing him/her to represent the estate. Then get an EIN from the IRS. Instructions are on the IRS website. Then go to a bank and open a checking account in the name of The Estate of ______.

Do we need a lawyer to help administer the assets,
Again, depends on the size and complexity of the estate. Also depends on how capable the executor is with figuring out how to do stuff.

if so what is the cost?
You'll have to check the state's probate laws. Sometimes there is a percentage limit. If not, then you'll have to call up lawyers and ask about fees.

Can we just use and accountant?
An accountant crunches numbers, cannot provide "legal" services.

Owns house, stocks bonds IRAs etc.
Investment accounts like stocks, bonds, IRA's and personal savings should all list beneficiaries. That way they bypass probate and automatically become owned by the listed beneficiary.

You don't say what state your father and his home are located in. If that state allows beneficiary deeds (transfer on death) it would be a good idea to look into that. Otherwise the house will have to be probated.

Brother who is the other executor lives in PA any effect?
-is having 2 executers goin got cause any problems?
-all family members get along we see no contesting
There is only one answer to all three of those question:

Love goes out the door when money comes in the window.

Your father would be wise to nominate ONE executor in his will and the other as contingent.

Handling an estate by committee can often become a nightmare. Only one person should be in charge and his/her fiduciary duties are addressed by statutes.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
New York probate is completely different (and hence irrelevant) to New Jersey.

Nobody is an executor until they are approved by court. If the value of the estate is over $50,000, you will need to go through formal probate. Whether you need an account depends on what the assets exactly are and what the tax and other debts are at the time. You may need to liquidate assets and hold the money in a trust account in order to pay the things. You will also need to start paying fees to the court itself, so yeah, it will be handy.

There are lots of paperwork that has to go to the heirs to be signed and other waivers and notices. Could you do it without an attorney, possibly. But there's a lot to screw up. If we're talking about an estate worth six figures or more, there's probably no reason to not use an attorney.

Frankly, Dad should have an ATTORNEY now to draft the will. I'm a bit worried about the naming of two executors. If this is a contingent nomination, i.e., brother is the executor unless he's unavailable or unwilling, and then the sister is, that's fine. If they are nominated as co-executors, that can be real problematic.

In addition to a will, there's always a few other documents that it behooves a person to have prepared while they are still competent: advanced medical directive (living will), medical and general powers of attorney, etc. In addition, there may be better answers to the estate planning question than only a will, depending on what the assets are and what the intent he has for where things go.
 
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LdiJ

Senior Member
There is only one answer to all three of those question:

Love goes out the door when money comes in the window.

Your father would be wise to nominate ONE executor in his will and the other as contingent.

Handling an estate by committee can often become a nightmare. Only one person should be in charge and his/her fiduciary duties are addressed by statutes.
So, you are saying that son in law and his wife should pressure her father to change his will? Should interfere with what he wants?

I agree that it's better to have one executor. However, that is not what dad chose to do and I think it would be a recipe for disaster to talk dad into changing anything now...particularly since they both appear to kjnow that they are named as co-executors.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
So, you are saying that son in law and his wife should pressure her father to change his will? Should interfere with what he wants?

I agree that it's better to have one executor. However, that is not what dad chose to do and I think it would be a recipe for disaster to talk dad into changing anything now...particularly since they both appear to kjnow that they are named as co-executors.
Yes, it would be wise for the OP's wife to suggest that dad only name one person instead of two. Wife can suggest that the brother be named, with her acting as backup/standby in case the brother is unable to fulfill his duties.

When it appeared that there may be even a remote possibility of a conflict of this sort when my father-in-law was going to name both with my wife and her brother as co-trustees, my wife made it clear that she wanted to avoid such a conflict and urged her dad to make her brother the sole trustee. He named my wife the trustee...
 

Silverspec

New member
Thank you all for the replies. ALL are helpful. I am leaning towards an attorney when the time comes. The attorney who did the will is very old and a family friend and not an estate attorney, I will ask him for a reference as back up. The Will has also been reviewed by an estate attorney and confirmed all is in good order(we were not impressed by this attorney). I guess my issue with getting an attorney is who to trust and what is the usual cost.

We also have advanced medical directive (living will), medical and general powers of attorney in place.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Thank you all for the replies. ALL are helpful. I am leaning towards an attorney when the time comes. The attorney who did the will is very old and a family friend and not an estate attorney, I will ask him for a reference as back up. The Will has also been reviewed by an estate attorney and confirmed all is in good order(we were not impressed by this attorney). I guess my issue with getting an attorney is who to trust and what is the usual cost.

We also have advanced medical directive (living will), medical and general powers of attorney in place.
How is it that you, personally, are so involved in this?
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Yes, it would be wise for the OP's wife to suggest that dad only name one person instead of two. Wife can suggest that the brother be named, with her acting as backup/standby in case the brother is unable to fulfill his duties.
That would likely be a safe way to handle it. However with the OP being so invested in the whole thing I doubt that would satisfy him.

When it appeared that there may be even a remote possibility of a conflict of this sort when my father-in-law was going to name both with my wife and her brother as co-trustees, my wife made it clear that she wanted to avoid such a conflict and urged her dad to make her brother the sole trustee. He named my wife the trustee...
That was smart on the part of your wife.
 

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