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New Jersey estate administration: Who to appoint as executor?

One aspect of estate planning that some New Jersey residents struggle with is the decision of who to name as personal representatives to oversee their wills. This can be especially difficult for those who do not have family members close to them and wonder about the logistics behind estate administration under such circumstances. New Jersey is one of those states that specifies that residents are preferred as the executors of wills over nonresidents, but does not entirely prohibit nonresidents serving in that capacity.

If a person planning out their estate administration needs only has family members that live out of state, it may be appropriate to name one of those relatives. However, the nonresident executor may need to go through certain steps, like appointing an agent who resides in New Jersey to receive service of court documents and to act in the court's jurisdiction. Some may feel that this is not an ideal solution, since it could slow down the estate administration process due to the need to mail things back and forth between the two states.

Another possibility is to contact a bank to research whether its trust department may be able to carry out the estate administration duties. Bank trust departments are often well-versed in this area and experienced at serving in this particular role. However, it is important to keep in mind that there will typically be fees involved for a bank providing such expertise and service.

New Jersey residents who are looking into their estate administration options may also consider asking their attorney to serve as the personal representative if they decide other possibilities aren't preferred. Whichever route a person decides to take, though, making such plans sooner rather than later typically benefits the individual by making sure an estate will be settled according to that person's wishes. This can help give peace of mind that a person's estate has been taken care of before such time as it actually becomes a necessity.

Source: nwitimes.com, "ESTATE PLANNING: Who will serve as personal representative?" Christopher W. Yugo, March 9, 2013

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