Marshaling the Assets of a New Jersey Estate

One of the many important tasks an estate executor or administrator in New Jersey must perform following the death of a loved one is marshaling the decedent’s assets. This is one component of the probate process, and while it is relatively straightforward, it is the estate’s designated representative’s responsibility to thoroughly manage the process.

What is Marshaling Assets?

The marshaling of an estate’s assets is the gathering of all of the decedent’s assets after they have passed away. The executor or administrator must first ensure that an estate bank account is opened into which the assets can be deposited. To do this, they will need an Employee Identification Number or EIN for the estate from the IRS.  Once the account has been opened, the executor or administrator may move forward with marshaling the assets. This must be done for any assets that do not have an attached beneficiary designation. Once all of the assets have been located, including any stocks, real estate, personal property, and bank accounts, they must be transferred to the estate bank account after being sold. The length of this process largely depends on the assets belonging to the deceased. If they owned a lot of real estate or a business, for example, it may take longer to sell.  On the other hand, if they owned only bank accounts, stock, or other personal property, this might be a faster process.

As a method of investigating all possible assets, it might be a good idea to acquire a copy of the deceased’s most recent income tax returns, which may give you a guide to some of the decedent’s assets . For example, there may be proof of bank accounts or property they otherwise didn’t mention.  A review of the decedent’s bank account statements may give other clues as to the location of other assets.

It is extremely important to be as thorough as possible in this process as the estate’s executor or administrator. You may discover assets that the decedent was unaware of or forgot that they had, such as bonds, insurance policies, and other assets given to them as a child. Similarly, it may be discovered that assets exist from long ago.

What Happens Next?

Once the assets are marshaled by the executor or administrator, all of the remaining estate expenses must be paid. This includes taxes, medical expenses, funeral expenses, other unsecured debts, and costs of estate administration. It is the executor or administrator’s responsibility to contact the creditors and satisfy those debts.

If you are administering an estate in New Jersey and have questions about marshaling assets or anything else regarding the administration process, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney at Ward, Shindle & Hall.