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Letters of Administration-no will
Generally, Letters of Administration are documents issued by the New York Surrogate's Court authorizing a person (called 'Administrator') to manage or distribute the property of a deceased person who died intestate (without making a Will). A New York City estate planning lawyer can explain the function of these documents to you.
Individuals can and should determine the distribution of their estate by preparing a Will which usually specifies an executor to carry out its directions. Where the decedent has left no Will, the New York laws and procedures determine both to whom and by whom a decedent's estate will be distributed. It is important that the deceased's close family members protect their interests in the decedent's estate including being appointed as an estate Administrator. Imagine a situation where a person dies without having prepared a Will and a distant relative is appointed as Administrator and the decedent's house and all other assets are inherited by this relative whom the decedent disliked or had no contact with for many years. Moreover, it may turn out that a government official called the Public Administrator will be appointed by the Court to administer the estate. The Public Administrator and his attorney are required to be paid a fee which will diminish the funds going to the decedent's family.
The estate laws determine the family member that have the right to be appointed as an Administrator of an Estate. The Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCPA) has many section s dealing with Intestate Administration. Section 1001 of the SCPA provides the order of priority for the appointment of the Administrator.
When a person prepares a Last Will in which he nominates an executor, the intestacy law no longer control the selection of the estate fiduciary. It is apparent that a person should prepare a Will so that he can select the persons who are to be in charge of handling all estate affairs. This selection is usually a close relative or friend. The nominated executor must present the Will to the Court for his official appointment as Executor. An attorney may be helpful in this process.
Administration proceedings can be complex and involve many issues such as proof of kinship and a search for unknown heirs. Letters of Administration will need to be obtained which requires filing a petition and many other documents with the Court. The petition for Letters of Administration is filed in the Surrogate's Court in the county where the decedent lived. For example, if the decedent lived in Manhattan, the papers are filed in the New York County Surrogate's Court which is located at 31 Chambers Street in New York City. Most of the Surrogate's Courts in the various counties have the same requirements regarding the papers that must be filed such as the death certificate, petition, affidavit of kinship and affidavit of no-debts. However, experienced estate attorneys are aware that some of the Courts have their own particular requirements and forms. It is important to find out about these various estate filing specifics as soon as possible when preparing the filing papers.
As a New York City attorney, I have successfully represented many clients in Administration proceedings in the New York Surrogate's Courts. I have helped family members protect their interests by having them appointed by the Court as Administrator and securing their rightful share of the decedent's estate. My many years of experience as an attorney has helped me successfully assist clients in the navigation of the many rules and procedures involved in Administration proceedings and obtaining Letters of Administration.
If you have any questions just call (212) 355-2575 and someone will assist you, or e-mail us for an appointment with a New York City lawyer.