Picking the Right Person to Execute Your Will and Act as Power of Attorney
Having a valid will in place ensures your final wishes are conveyed regarding your property and assets. Powers of attorney (POA) ensure financial matters are attended to in the event you are incapacitated and unable to attend to them yourself. Both are vitally important estate planning documents to have in place. As experienced New Jersey wills/POA attorneys, one of the most common concerns we address with clients regards naming someone you trust to perform tasks required by these documents when the need arises.
Naming An Executor For Your Will
When a person passes away, his or her estate must go through the probate process. This ensures all property and assets are accounted for and that any claims against the estate are settled. It also ensures the proper distributions are made among the heirs and that any estate taxes owed are settled.
In Milltown, these matters are handled through the Middlesex County Surrogate’s Court. Having a legal will in place ensures property is conveyed according to your wishes. If you die without one, it is referred to as dying intestate, and it results in time consuming and costly proceedings while potentially preventing certain people from inheriting from your estate. In creating a will, you will need to name a personal representative. This person acts as the executor of your will in the probate court. His or her duties include:
- Gathering property and assets and providing a complete inventory of your estate;
- Completing the appropriate probate court forms and appearing at hearings;
- Notifying creditors to satisfy unpaid debts;
- Filing a final tax return and pay any amounts owed;
- Locating your beneficiaries so that distributions can be made.
As this is a tall order, you want to give special consideration to who should fulfill this role. You can name a spouse, adult child, or other immediate family member, but it is important to remember that they will still be grieving during this time. You want to avoid putting undue burdens on your loved ones. You also want to be sure the person you select has the general skills and knowledge to see this task through to completion.
Choosing the Right Person to Grant Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney (POA) are designed to protect you in the event an injury or illness leaves you incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. Under the New Jersey Statutes, your POA acts as your ‘attorney-in-fact’ and is authorized to handle business and financial matters in the event you are unable to. They have a fiduciary duty to manage your affairs wisely and to act in your best interests. Powers that can be granted through a POA include:
- The right to access your financial accounts (including retirement funds) and make transactions on your behalf;
- The right to make investments, legal claims, or collect on debts;
- The right to manage your property, including any businesses you own;
- The right to buy, sell, or trade property and to make gifts to others.
When choosing someone for this position, it can be a family member, friend, business partner, or a professional service provider, such as a family law attorney. The important thing is to ensure that they are someone you trust who is familiar with your wishes and has the experience and skill needed to successfully carry out any tasks.
Let Our Middlesex Wills and POA Attorneys Assist You
When handling important matters regarding your future and the care of your loved ones, Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. is a trusted legal ally on your side. Call or contact our Milltown family law attorneys and schedule a consultation to discuss how we can assist you today.