After someone dies, here’s what an executor needs to know

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Q. What is the purpose of filing nonintervention and waiver of bond on behalf of an executor? And whose duty is it to construct the inventory of the estate and is it included in court filings to avoid probate?
— Confused

A. Generally, when an individual dies owning assets and having a validly prepared will, the named executor will present the will for probate to the surrogate in the county and state in which the decedent lived at the time of death.

Each state has different rules and procedures for probate with some being more burdensome, expensive and time-consuming than New Jersey, said Catherine Romania, an estate planning attorney with Witman Stadtmauer in Florham Park.

She said the filing of a nonintervention and waiver of bond, and an inventory to close the estate, are not typical of New Jersey probate proceedings.

In New Jersey, the bond is generally waived as a provision in the will, Romania said.

“If there is no will, a bond is generally required based on the value of the estate, except in the case of small estates — less than $20,000 where the spouse is not the sole beneficiary — or where the spouse is the sole beneficiary,” she said.

The executor is charged with marshalling the assets, filing any tax returns required, paying the creditors and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries, she said.

Romania said residuary beneficiaries can request an inventory and an accounting of estate assets.

“Before making a final distribution, the executor will have the beneficiaries sign a refunding bond and release by which the beneficiary will release the executor of any claims and agree to return funds necessary to pay estate taxes,” she said. “These refunding bonds and releases will be filed with the surrogate to close the estate.”

Email your questions to moc.p1603545997leHye1603545997noMJN1603545997@ksA1603545997.

This story was originally published on Sept. 28, 2020.

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