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How long can a person stay as an administrator of an estate?

Bloomfield, NJ |

My mother passed away approximately 2 years ago. She did not leave a will, but me and my siblings have signed papers to appoint the eldest sibling as administrator of our mother's estate. We have been approached by our eldest sibling, if we would agree to sign our mother's property in his name. My other siblings disagree with his decision and has decided not to sign any forms to transfer the property into his name. We have disagreed based on his negligence of handling the property with the proper repairs, allowing rent to lapse as well as lateness of paying the taxes. How long can he stay as administrator of the estate?

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Attorney answers 3


The original appointment will last until the estate is settled; however, if you do not feel he is doing the job properly you could ask the Court to remove him and replace him with a different Administrator. Absent unusual circumstances 2 years is typically long enought to complete an administration.

Very truly yours,

Ed Smeltzer

NOTE: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.


I am sorry your family is going through a time of such conflict. I am an attorney practicing in New Jersey. The administrator of an estate is supposed to act in a timely way to gather assets, pay taxes and distribute property. If the estate has not been closed within two years, it may mean that the administrator has been negligent, but estates often remain open for longer than two years. I have a question, however, about why the administrator wants to transfer all of the property into his individual name - if this is what you meant. This would not be appropriate unless each of you wishes to waive your right to receive a share in the estate. You should consult with an attorney experienced in these matters. A complete review of the facts, as well as the documents he has asked you to sign, is necessary in order to advise you regarding your options.

This opinion is offered solely for informational purposes based on the information provided in your question. It does not constitute a legal opinion, nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship of any kind.


Disclaimer: I am not licensed in your state. All comments provided are meant as general legal commentary and not specific legal advice. Comments left in this forum do not create an attorney client relationship between the parties.

Each state has different probate rules about what an administrator must do. If you feel that your brother has mishandled the estate and you wish to complain to the court, you need to do that while the estate is open.

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