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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: Can an Executor pay beneficiaries whenever he or she wants?

When sitting down with a New York or New Jersey estate planning attorney to make a comprehensive estate plan, you’ll be deciding many important things that impact not only the end of your life and the financial future of your loved ones, but also what will happen to you if you become incapacitated by an illness, condition, or accident prior to your death.

Generally, you’ll execute a last will and testament and/or a trust to distribute assets in accordance with your wishes. You may do Medicaid planning to secure your assets in the event that you need long-term nursing home care at some point.

You may also do planning for incapacity by executing documents appointing those you to trust to make financial and medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so. When you’re through, you will have peace of mind knowing you put your affairs in order.

Then one day—hopefully in the very distant future– the executor you appointed will have a job to do administering your estate in accordance with your wishes.

New York and New Jersey estate administration attorneys guide executors with the administration of the estate after you were gone. Generally, estates to go through probate and, where no litigation is involved, are typically settled in approximately 9 to 18 months.

What is a common mistake that Executors might make?

Sometimes, executors may want to pay certain beneficiaries earlier than they should, like when they are frustrated by delays in the approval of the final accounting. This could be an expensive mistake. The executor has a duty to tie-up all loose ends, pay any necessary estate taxes, and put aside sufficient funds to pay any final estate bills before distributing any checks to the beneficiaries. Distributing assets prematurely could result in an executor having to pay the final estate expenses from their own pocket. Consulting with a skilled estate administration attorney helps executors avoid this and other pitfalls.

If you need assistance with an estate plan or have been named an executor and need assistance with an estate administration, the attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all aspects of estate planning and estate administration.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.