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Gaining access to property as an executor

| Mar 3, 2021 | Estate Administration & Probate |

As the executor of an estate, part of your responsibility is to marshal assets belonging to the deceased. In other words, you take control of them so that you can fulfill your other responsibilities, such as handling expenses and debts or funding bequests.

On the other hand, you must also be able to demonstrate that you have a legal right to access the assets. This is to prevent someone else from taking possession of them illegally. Here are some situations that you may encounter in your capacity as an executor and how to handle them.

Release of bank accounts

The decedent may have assets held in bank accounts that you need to take possession of. You may also have to transfer ownership of any real estate in the decedent’s name. To do this, you must obtain a waiver that allows the release of the assets.

A Form 0-1 waiver is necessary for the transfer of any real estate belonging to the decedent. Only the Division of Taxation can issue it. If there are no estate or inheritance taxes due, you have the option to obtain a Form L-8 self-executing waiver affidavit, fill it out and return it directly to the financial institution holding the funds.

Claim on property

You may have to make a claim to the Unclaimed Property Administration for lost or abandoned property belonging to the decedent. If this is the case, you not only have to prove your legal capacity to complete the claim but your identity as well. For this, you need a clear photocopy of an identification card bearing your name and signature, such as a U.S. passport or a state-issued driver’s license. You also need proof that you have the legal capacity to file the claim on the decedent’s behalf. For a claim in Morris County, you can obtain the necessary documentation from the surrogate court.

Once you gain access to the funds, you can then carry out your primary responsibilities as executor of the estate.