When people ask us “how long are my letters testamentary good for,” we want to see a copy of the letters testamentary. If there is no expiration date on it, then they are good for the rest of your life. Essentially, most letters testamentary can last forever. Look at an example of letters testamentary – it does not say that it’s only good for a certain time period.
With many courts in New York, one for each county, rules may vary from court to court. Circumstances can also vary from case to case. So you sometimes do have letters that are only good for a certain time period, but that’s an exception rather than the rule.
Most letters testamentary are good forever, but when a bank is conducting a transaction, their policy is usually to see a recent Certificate of Appointment of Executor from the court confirming that your letters testamentary is still in effect. The financial institution does this to make sure that nothing changed in your case, that your letters are not revoked and that you are still in good standing with the court regarding compliance, bonding, accounting, reports or any other issues. Banks call this a “fresh Certificate.” You can see an example of a Certificate:
To get a new certificate, you just have to go to the court that issued the letters testamentary, see a clerk in the cashier’s department, pay six dollars and they will issue a new certificate. The new Certificate will essentially be good for the next six months.