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How Do You Become an Administrator of an Estate in New York

In order to become an administrator of an estate in New York, you will need your New York estate attorney to file the appropriate application in the Surrogate’s Court. These documents may include a Petition for Administration of Estate, the original death certificate, notices and citations, copy of the funeral bill, affidavit of heirship, affidavit of family tree, affidavit of due diligence, etc.. There will be a hearing in the Surrogate’s Court whereby your candidacy to become an administrator of an estate in New York will be considered by the judge.

New York Letters of Administration is an official name for document issued by the Surrogate’s Court which permits a person to act on behalf of an estate of a person who died without leaving a will.

Here is a redacted picture of  Letters of Administration NY obtained by our law firm:

How Do You Become an Administrator of an Estate in New York

Once you become an administrator of an estate in New York,  you will be able to perform responsibilities of an estate. Eventually, you will be able to distribute the assets of the estate to its beneficiaries.

Here are some of the things a person can do once they are appointed as an administrator of an estate by Letters of Administration issued by the Surrogate’s Court:

  • Obtain a tax id number for an estate from the federal government
  • Open an estate bank account
  • Request information from banks and other institutions that control the decedent’s assets. The banks will comply if you show them the Letters of Administration and the death certificate
  • Transfer assets from the decedent’s name to the name of the estate
  • Pay debts of the decedent
  • Collect claims of the decedent
  • Marshal assets of the estate
  • Distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries of the estate,after obtaining proper waivers or providing an accounting

Those things would be impossible to do without becoming an administrator of an estate in New York. The banks will not give you information and will not transfer the assets, the county recorder will not record property deeds, and a buyer will not buy a property from you.

Once you become an administrator of an estate in New York, the court can also issue a Certificate of Appointment of Administrator, which is printed on a watermarked blue paper, and looks similar to a death certificate, birth certificate or marriage certificate.

Here is a redacted picture of a Certificate of Appointment of Administrator obtained by our law firm:

How Do You Become an Administrator of an Estate in New York - Certificate

Even if the decedent died in a different state, and you are an administrator in that state, you will still need to become an administrator of an estate in New York by verifying out-of-state Letters of Administration through a New York ancillary administration proceeding.

You can become an administrator of an estate in New York when a person died without a will, and you apply and are appointed by the court as the administrator of a deceased person’s estate. A person can only be an administrator if they are related to the person who died. The spouse of the decedent gets a preference, followed by children, grandchildren, other descendants, parents, siblings, etc.

If a person died and no one stepped forward to be the administrator of their estate, the Public Administrator of the county where the decedent lived will become the administrator of the deceased person’s estate.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Administrator of an Estate in New York

It typically takes a few months to become an administrator of an estate in New York. If the administration proceeding is contested, i.e. if someone is contesting your right to become the estate administrator, becoming an administrator of an estate in New York can take years, or they can be potentially denied altogether, with either the challenger or the public administrator (the PA) becoming the administrator instead.

Call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233, New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust, medicaid and probate lawyer, and make an appointment to discuss how you become an administrator of an estate in New York.

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New York City Estate Lawyer Albert Goodwin, Esq.
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