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Where do you begin with New Jersey estate administration?

After a loved one has died, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Many people in New Jersey may have heard of the notion of "estate administration," but may have little to no idea what it entails or how to start. There are some first steps to take that will help determine how the administration of the estate will proceed.

Once everyone has been notified of the loved one's passing and final arrangements have been made, the next step is to secure the everyday things of that person's life. Things like redirecting mail, stopping the newspaper, taking care of pets and making sure his or her house isn't left unprotected. Then there are practical matters such as notifying an employer if the decedent was employed. If retired, the Social Security Administration and any other entity paying retirement benefits will need to be identified and notified.

Once these and other immediate needs are taken care of, the next step is to determine whether the deceased had a will. A will can provide clues as to what property the decedent owned and give family members an idea of the types of things that will need to be addressed. The person named as the executor of the estate will need to obtain numerous certified copies of the death certificate. This will be needed in order to proceed with winding up the estate.

Once the will has been filed in the New Jersey court and the executor has been given permission by a judge to begin the estate administration, beneficiaries and creditors will need to be located and notified. There are certain time limits and actions that need to be taken before the estate can be considered closed. It may be beneficial to employ the assistance of professionals such as accounts and attorneys to ensure that everything is done properly and that anything that may have been missed in the beginning gets addressed as quickly as possible.

Source: njtoday.net, "What To Do When A Loved One Dies," Jason Alderman, June 17, 2013

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