Not everyone in New York takes the necessary steps to have an estate plan. There can be many reasons for this, but, regardless of why it happened, it is important for the family left behind to know how the law handles intestacy. After the person has died, there will be an estate administration proceeding. Knowing the basics of this is imperative as the family deals with the decedent’s estate.
With administration, the Surrogate’s Court will issue letters of administration to those who are eligible to receive the decedent’s property. The assets the decedent had will determine how the proceeding moves forward. If the only assets the decedent had were real property, an administration proceeding may not be necessary. This will depend on the surviving heirs. Based on the law, the distributees – the heirs who stand to inherit the property – will automatically own it.
Only certain people can file for administration in New York. The closest heir will be the one who files in most cases. This individual will file a copy of the funeral bill, the certified death certificate, a petition for letters of administration, and other important documents. This will be done in the Surrogate’s Court where the decedent resided. All heirs must be listed in the petition. The Surrogate’s Court can determine who will be involved in the case. The distributees will be informed that there has been an attempt to get letters of administration to manage the estate.
The distribution of assets can be complicated if a person has died without a will. Understanding how New York handles administration in such a case and what variables might be applicable can be difficult. A legal professional who specializes in estate administration can be of assistance with any matter that comes up with estate planning, probate and inheritance.
Source: nycourts.gov, “Administration,” accessed on May 8, 2018