NY Letters of Administration

Why a Will is Better Than New York Letters of Administration

New York Surrogate’s Courts have jurisdiction concerning matters relating to a decedent’s estate. These Courts are located in the various state counties. For instance, there is a Suffolk County Surrogate's Court and a Nassau County Surrogate's Court.  Probate proceedings involve the filing of a Will with the Court and the proceeding whereby the Court validates the Will and appoints an Executor to carry out the Will provisions.

Administration proceedings are initiated where a person dies without a Will. A decedent’s next of kin are usually appointed as Administrator and receive Letters of Administration in New York. The estate assets are then distributed according to New York law to the decedent’s statutory heirs. I have represented many clients and helped them obtain Letters of Administration in New York. I also provide guidance with estate settlement. Where a decedent dies intestate or without a Will, the statutes provide an order of priority as to the surviving persons who inherit the estate assets and can be appointed as an Administrator.  The first priority is a spouse and children, then parents, brothers and sisters and more distant heirs.  The person entitled to be appointed would file a petition for letters of administration with the Court.  In the event there is any question or dispute regarding the identity or status of the rightful heirs, the Court may require that a hearing on Kinship be held.  A Kinship Hearing requires the presentation of proof regarding the decedent's ancestors and the relation of the person claiming to be a relative.  This proof includes birth, death and marriage records.

While Letters of Administration are a mechanism to start the orderly transfer of assets when there is no Will, it's best to have a Will. One reason is if you have young children. Without a Will estate funds held for the children may remain under the control and supervision of the Court until the child is 18 years old.  If you prepare a Will you can create a testamentary trust in the Will to hold the assets for the minor children and select your preferred Trustees.  Also, without a Will, your assets can be distributed according to the laws of intestary i.e. to your next of kin which may not reflect your desires. Without a Will your estate may pay more in taxes since your estate may not be properly planned to take advantage of certain aspects of the gift and estate tax laws.

Regardless of the size of an estate, most adults — young and old — and their families benefit greatly from having a well-prepared estate plan consisting of documents such as a: Last Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Living Will. These papers allow a person to clearly set forth the persons who will benefit from an estate and to provide for the selection of the individuals who will administer the estate and make personal and financial decisions in the event of incapacity. I graduated in the top 10% of my class at The New England School of Law in Boston. I provide my clients with personal legal representation and work closely with them to achieve their goals. I have many years of experience handling matters related to New York Letters of Administration.

To contact me regarding any questions or concerns call (212) 355-2575 or fill out my contact form.