NJ law streamlines process for fiduciary resignation

A person who has been appointed as administrator of an estate or Executor under a Last Will and Testament is appointed to their role by either the Surrogate’s Court or Surrogate’s office. I’ve previously blogged about the steps to take if a fiduciary wants to quit the job. Previously, it was necessary to file a formal Complaint in Superior Court on notice to the beneficiaries. Amendments to the statute passed by the Legislature in New Jersey would enable a fiduciary who was appointed by the Surrogate to file this process through an application for resignation at the Surrogate’s Court which appointed him/her.PL 2017, Ch. 208 Download: New_Jersey-2016-A1955-Amended.html If s/he was appointed by the Court, a Complaint will still be required. The amendments deal with executors under a Will, administrators of estates, and trustees.

The law specifies the requirements for such a filing:

N.J.S.A. 3B:14-19 (a)… (1) a written statement of intent to resign, (2) a copy of the governing instrument which expressly authorizes resignation of the fiduciary, (3) proof of compliance with the terms, if any, set forth in the governing instrument, and (4) proof that the resigning fiduciary has served written notice of intent to resign on all co-fiduciaries and all parties to the estate or trust at least 20 days prior to filing with the court.”

In section (b), discharge must be granted as long as requirements are met: “A court in receipt of a request for discharge that meets the requirements established pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall discharge the fiduciary if: (1) no opposition has been filed, (2) the discharge will not be prejudicial to the estate or persons interested therein, and (3) either the estate or trust administration is concluded, there is a co-fiduciary with authority to continue with the administration, or there is a successor fiduciary appointed simultaneously with the discharge who is acceptable to the court.

Bear in mind that being discharged from the duties does not relieve the fiduciary from accountability.

The law takes effect 60 days after enactment, which will be October 7, 2017.

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