Under New Jersey Probate Law, when someone dies testate (has a will),that will will appoint an executor.  The job of the executor is very important and comes with numerous responsibilities.  These obligations include probating the will, liquidating assets (selling a home or jewelery), pay all encumbrances and taxes as well as take care of all other court duties.  The executor may hire a lawyer to help make the proper decisions, but let’s face it, it’s a tough job that not every one can handle or just isn’t willing to do so.

Once the executor is declared, the court or surrogate’s office are not responsible for making sure the will is probated properly or in a timely manner.  If you are not happy with the way the executor is handling their duties because they are not following the instruction set forth by the will,you can, under New Jersey Probate Law, have an attorney file a complaint in Superior Court.  This complaint is called the Complaint for Accounting.  The complaint for accounting is filed to request the removal of the current executor and asks the court to assign a new person as an administrator of the will.

Removal is not easy in any sense of the word.  The beneficiaries must be able to prove that serious wrongdoing has occurred before the court will rule to replace the executor.  Such acts as moving to slowly, refusing to give out information or just being uncooperative are not grounds for removal. In successful removals, the beneficiaries where able to convince the court that the executor was incapable of performing his/her duties, was unsuitable for the position or has become disqualified.

Incapable: Must prove that the executor has some mental or physical illness that will prevent them from successfully acting in the role of an executor.

This being the easiest to prove.  If the executor has committed a crime since being appointed and has gone to jail for the crime, then they are no longer eligible to be an executor.

Unsuitable: Because of the circumstantial evidence that must be interpreted, this is the most challenging to prove.  This involves either a conflict of interest or some form of serious misconduct.  Other misconduct, which may be grounds for removal must be fairly serious and actually damaging or threatening to damage the estate. Examples of such behavior might be:

  • Being a Drunk
  • Stealing from the estate
  • Not filing an inventory or accounting
  • Refusing to obey a court order
  • Neglecting to perform duties as executor

In conclusion you must have great cause in order to pursue a removal of an executor.  Costs are high and the risk of alienating everyone is great.  Money can easily come between family, so please exhaust all your options first before considering an executor removal.

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 When inheriting a house in New Jersey through the probate process there are some taxes you'll have to pay.  The taxes that will be paid are called Capital Gains tax.  Before getting into the specific rules of capital gains when inheriting a property, let us go over what it is exactly.

From the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, Division of Taxation, a capital gain is the profit you realize when you sell or exchange property such as real estate or shares of stock.  If you are a New Jersey resident, all of your capital gains, except gains from the sale of exempt obligations, are subject to this State's income tax (http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/njit9.shtml).  

When an heir inherits a property, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) determines their basis in the property on the date of the owners death.  A basis is the difference between the cash price and future price of the property.  The IRS will use the house's fair market value to determine what your capital gains are.  Lets compare an inherited property to one that you have purchased.

Your House:

Purchased For: 100k

Current Marekt Value: 150k

If you were to sell your house you would be profit a total of $50,000.  You would be taxed on this profit.

Inherited House:

Purchase For: 100k

Current Market Value upon Death of original owner: 135k  (this would be your new tax basis)

If you were to sell the house for 150k now, you would profit only $15,000 and that would be your taxable income.

Another item to consider is what the tax rate will be.  In New Jersey there are long-term capital gains and short-term capital gains.  If the house is sold within one year of obtaining ownership, then this is considered a short-term and are taxed at a rate of ordinary income (i.e. same tax rate that is used against income from a job).  This rate is generally higher then the rate of long-term capital gains taxes.  The rate of long-term capital gains taxes may be regulated by the fedral government and is different depending on your tax bracket.  Since 2003 the long-term capital gains tax is 15%, but only 5% for the lowest two brackets.

Be advised though that holding out for a year in order to pay less taxes may be more costly as maintenance, property taxes will ad up quickly.  Do your homework and make the best decision for your situation.

If you wish to sell an inherited house and don't want to go through the hassles of fixing it up in order to sell on the market, or just not being certain when it will sell send Scott from http://www.ScottyBuys.com/Probate and he can help you out.  There is no obligation or cost.

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Having to watch over a vacant home is a full time job and one that can get old really quick.  Most times when you inherit a house from a deceased relative
it is either in another town or even on the other side of the country. 
Have you ever been driving through a neighborhood that had a vacant
home?  It is usually very easy to spot, either by the unkempt lawn or
the news papers have piled up.  Even if some one is hired to mow the
lawn and pick up the papers, there are always signs and those signs
scream out to vandals and thieves that this house is vacant.  

There are steps you can take to best keep the house in order and in sellable condition. 
In the end getting the best possible price for the home is the goal,
but sometimes selling it quickly can save you a ton of money and
headaches.  Until the time comes when the house actually sells please
take the following actions in order to best protect yourself and the
vacant house.

1) Get Vacant Homeowners Insurance.  This is a MUST, as the regular
homeowners policy will most likely be dropped by the provider once the
home is vacant for 90 days.  This is not always true, but when there is
an accident or a claim, the policy will not cover what you think as it
assumes the house is occupied.  Call your insurance company and tell
them about the vacant house situation, not all companies will cover a
vacant house so finding one that will is paramount.  

2) You’ll need someone to look after the house.  Call a neighbor,
friend or relative that lives in the neighborhood to have them help
maintain the house.  They should go into the property about once every
week, it’s important to stay on a routine schedule in order to catch
possible hazards, water leaks or break-ins. Doing so will limit the
damage or even prevent it.  

3) Get an Alarm system.  This has two benefits, one it with prevent
break-ins and two your new vacant homeowners policy might give you a
discount for having one installed.  Not only that but it will give you
the peace of mind that the house is safe.

4) Do preventative maintenance by turning off water to the house and
drain the pipes to prevent them from freezing in the winter.  If you
can not drain the pipes then during winter months keep the house
temperature between 58 and 60 degrees.  Also have the walk ways,
driveways and front steps cleared of any snow or ice in the winter
months.  In the summer months have the lawn mowed, shrubs trimmed and
just keep the house generally looking good.  

Yes this is a lot of work, but can not be left undone.  Did you know
that if you are an executor of an estate, New Jersey Probate Law says you can be held liable for
accidents that occur on or in the vacant property?  If a pipe leaks and
nobody checks on the house for weeks at a time, the damage could be
more  then $100,000 and cause deadly mold to form.  Once a house
displays signs of mold it INSTANTLY becomes very hard to sell and
expensive for remediation. 

If you wish to sell the house now, contact Scott from http://www.ScottyBuys.com no obligations or cost.

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