An administrator CTA (administrator cum testamento annexo) is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court when there is no person named as executor in the will or when there is no executor qualified to act. New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1418.
Based on this provision, there are three scenarios when an administrator CTA can be appointed by the court:
- when there is no nominated executor in the will
- when the executor and successor executor named in the will are dead, incapacitated, disqualified or refuse to accept the nomination
- when the appointed executor resigns or is removed by the court
When there is no executor, the following can file a petition to be appointed as administrator CTA in the order of priority:
- the sole beneficiary or if he is dead, his fiduciary
- to one or more of the residuary beneficiaries, or if any be dead, to their fiduciary
- to one or more persons interested in the estate, or if dead, to their fiduciary. If no person in the three classes is available, then the court will appoint a public administrator
For example, you died with a will, nominating your spouse as executor, and your brother as successor executor. In the will, you named your spouse and children as the residuary beneficiaries of your estate.
When you died, your spouse was in a nursing home, suffering from worsening dementia, and your brother, was living out of the country and refused to accept the nomination as executor. In this case, any of your children can file a petition to be appointed as administrator CTA.
When you died, your spouse died before you, and your brother was appointed as executor. Your children filed a petition to remove your brother as executor because he mismanaged estate funds and was in fact removed by the court. In this case, your children can file a petition to be appointed as administrator.
Same facts as Scenario 2 where your spouse predeceased you while your brother was removed as executor due to mismanagement of estate funds. Your children also died (this is a long time in the future). One of them does not have an estate, while the other one has an executor handling his estate. On the other hand, one of your beneficiaries, who you left $10,000 to in your will, is claiming a right to be appointed as administrator CTA as an interested person since both your children, who are residuary beneficiaries, are dead. Does the specific beneficiary have a better right to be appointed as administrator CTA than your child’s executor? No, your child’s executor has a better right to be appointed as administrator CTA because SCPA § 1418 states that a residuary beneficiary, or if dead, his fiduciary, has priority over an interested person (including a specific beneficiary) to be appointed as administrator CTA.
Should you need assistance in obtaining letters of administration CTA or guidance in navigating any issues related to the estate of a loved one, we, at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY, and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.