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The Basics Of New York Administration Proceedings

When a person dies without leaving a will, he or she is said to have died “intestate.” In such cases, an administrator must be appointed to collect and distribute the decedent’s assets. An administration proceeding must be commenced in the surrogate’s court, in the county in which the decedent resided, to have the administrator appointed. The relevant statute determines who has priority to be named administrator. The order is as follows:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Brothers or sisters
  • Any other distributees, with preference to the person entitled to the largest share of the estate

Commencing an administration proceeding is similar to commencing a probate proceeding, except that there is no will. See Long Island probate proceedings for more information regarding the procedure for joining necessary parties.

If there is no objection to the appointment of the administrator, the court will issue “Letters of Administration,” which are actually a single sheet of paper. The Letters of Administration are proof of the administrator’s authority to act on behalf of the estate.

The Order Of Intestate Distribution In New York

The assets of an individual dying intestate are distributed according to the statutory order of distribution in New York. Assets can be in any form, including bank accounts, personal property or real estate. However, it is important to keep in mind that certain jointly owned property, such as real estate, may pass directly to the joint owner, depending on the form of ownership.

The order of distribution in New York is listed in New York Code § 4-1.1 and reproduced below. Note: An “issue” is a descendant of the individual who died intestate including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

If a decedent is survived by:

  1. A spouse and issue – $50,000 and one-half of the residue to the spouse, and the balance to the issue.
  2. A spouse and no issue – The whole to the spouse.
  3. Issue and no spouse – The whole to the issue.
  4. One or both parents and no spouse and no issue – The whole to the surviving parent or parents.
  5. No spouse, issue or parent – The whole to the decedent’s siblings.

The above persons are known as “distributees.”

Not included in the above list are more remote distributions contained in the statute, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Free Consultations Available – Reach Out Today

Contact The Law Office of Andrew M. Doktofsky, P.C., today for a free consultation about administration proceedings throughout Suffolk County and Nassau County, New York. Andrew Doktofsky is an experienced probate lawyer in Long Island who will advise you on administrative proceedings and estate distribution following the death of a loved one. Call or email the firm for a free consultation about your administration proceeding questions in New York.

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