In New York State, the death of a loved one can be a difficult time for the family members left behind. The executor of the will, the status of the heirs and how probate administration will be handled are all issues that must be asked even in a time of sorrow. One part of the process that might not be clear is how the decedent’s domicile factors in with the estate proceeding. Knowing about decedent domicile is critical to a smooth process when settling the person’s affairs after death.

With an estate proceeding in which probate or a small estate are considerations, the case will be filed in the Surrogate’s Court where the deceased person lived or “domiciled.” It must be done in that specific county. The county will be determined by their primary home address prior to death. In some instances, the person lived in more than one place. The domicile where the person had intentions of returning will be considered the main domicile and the proceeding must be in that county.

For people who had moved to a nursing home, it is important to remember that the facility will not be considered as a domicile. If the person lived in a nursing home prior to death, the estate proceeding must take place in the county in which they resided prior to entering the facility. A key point to understand is that the former home will be the domicile even if it was sold or rented and they are no longer connected to it in any way.

Small details like where the proceeding must be filed based on the decedent’s former residence are critical to the process being completed smoothly. In many instances, it is the smaller issues such as this that are the most complex and problematic. Having legal assistance from a law firm that understands every aspect of estate planning, estate administration, probate and more is one of the most crucial steps a family can take and should not be ignored when moving forward after a loved one’s death.