In New York, when a person dies with a valid will in place, the will is presented for probate, and the court appoints an executor (normally the person named in the will itself) to deal with the assets and liabilities of the decedent's estate until the estate can be closed. Not everyone, however, dies with a valid will in place. A person who dies without a will is said to have died intestate. A decedent's estate still comes into existence, and someone still needs to deal with the estate's liabilities and assets. That someone in New York is known as the administrator of an intestate decedent's estate. The Surrogate's Court will normally appoint the spouse, a sibling, an adult child or other relative to serve as the estate's administrator.
If you have been appointed as the administrator of a decedent's estate, or if you have questions about the honesty or competence of an administrator, contact the Law Offices of Alessandro F. Marra in Brooklyn for a free consultation about your rights and responsibilities.
Intestate administration works substantially the same as a will in probate, with one important exception: state law, not the intentions of the decedent, will control the priority and nature of the claims of rgw decedent's heirs. Any person related by blood to the decedent will have a defined right as a statutory heir, but close relations are favored over distant ones.
For example, where there is no surviving spouse, all children of the intestate decedent will share equally in the estate as between themselves, and any surviving sibling of the decedent will take nothing. If there are no children, however, siblings would share equally, and surviving cousins would take nothing.
Many circumstances can complicate intestate administration. For example, when no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents or siblings can be identified soon after death, the case will be referred to the Office of the Public Administrator, who then publishes notice of the death in the attempt to find more distant relatives, such as cousins, aunts or uncles. People who respond to the published notice then can commence a kinship case in Surrogate's Court, which gives the relatives a chance to prove the relationship and a right to share in the estate.
Brooklyn probate attorney Alessandro F. Marra can advise administrators, statutory heirs or distant relatives in intestate administration or kinship cases. With approximately 30 years of experience in this field, he can help you discharge your duties or advise you of your rights, as the case may be. For more information about his approach to client services in intestacy cases, contact the Law Offices of Alessandro F. Marra for a free consultation.
Law Offices of Alessandro F. Marra, Esq.
1142 East 92nd Street
Brooklyn NY 11236
Based in Brooklyn, New York, the Law Offices of Alessandro F. Marra, Esq., represents individuals and business clients in Kings County, Queens County, New York County, Richmond County and surrounding communities, including Long Island.