27 Oct I don’t want my kids to be my executor. What should I do?
Q. My long time and I partner live together and we each have children from previous marriages and our own financial resources. I’m 71 and he is 75. He knows all my finances but my children have no idea about them and may not be responsible. I need someone to take care of my finances after I’m gone. How do I choose?
— Planning ahead
A. You have several options.
If you don’t have any younger responsible friends or family members that you trust, you can name an accountant, attorney or bank as executor, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.
“Under New Jersey law, executors are entitled to statutory commissions which are percentage-based, although attorneys and accountants may be entitled to charge additional fees based on billable hours for legal, accounting or tax preparation services,” she said. “Many banks will decline to serve as executor unless the estate assets are substantial enough to meet their minimum fee requirements.”
Make sure that your will names an executor and at least one successor executor, Whitenack said. In the absence of a will, the surrogate judge will appoint an administrator.
“New Jersey law gives first priority to serve as administrator to the deceased person’s heirs if there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner, and this is contrary to what the reader desires,” she said.
Also note that wills don’t govern the disposition of assets that have beneficiary designations or that are held jointly with rights of survivorship, she said.
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This story was originally published Oct. 27, 2020.
NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.