Who should be executor of your will?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. What are the consequences of making your attorney the third party executor of a will?
— Wondering

A. You can select just about anyone to be your executor.

The executor is responsible for paying last debts and creditors, filing tax returns and paying taxes and distributing the estate’s assets in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes as set forth in the will, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

She said for larger estates, it may make sense to nominate a professional such as an attorney who is familiar with the duties and obligations of serving as an executor. This is especially important if the person who died is the owner of a business.

“Executors often hire attorneys to assist them and in New Jersey, an attorney may serve and get paid as an executor and may be paid an additional fee for legal work performed by that attorney,” Whitenack said.

Pursuant to New Jersey law, executors are entitled to receive 5 percent on the first $200,000 of the trust principal, 3.5 percent on the excess over $200,000 up to $1 million, and 2 percent on the excess over $1 million.

In addition, Whitenack said, the executor is entitled to receive 6 percent on all income received by the executor.

Family members often waive their rights to take statutory commissions, she said.

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