Surrogate's Court

Small Estate Proceedings


VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATION or SMALL ESTATE PROCEEDING may be used when a fiduciary is needed to transfer estate assets (personal property only) and the value of the assets does not exceed $50,000, exclusive of property set off under EPTL 5-3.1. This is a legal proceeding and you may need the assistance of a lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you may wish to contact the Lawyer Referral Service of your local County Bar Association for assistance in obtaining one. Court employees cannot dispense legal advice. Generally, you will file the proceeding with the Court in the County where the decedent resided at the time of his death.

ELIGIBILITY TO SERVE: You must be a named executor or alternate executor in the decedent's will, or a distributee (as that term is defined in EPTL 1-2.5 and 4-1.1) of the decedent, or a court appointed guardian of the property of an infant distributee to be eligible to serve as Voluntary Administrator. If you are not eligible to serve, or, if you are applying solely to pay a Medicaid or other public assistance claim, contact the Public Administrator/Treasurer of your County.

DEATH CERTIFICATE: A certified copy of the death certificate (with raised seal) must be filed with the affidavit.

FILING FEE: $1.00. Please make check or money order payable to the Surrogate's Court of whatever County you are filing in.

WILL: If the decedent had a Will, the original Will must be filed with the affidavit. Make a copy for yourself, without removing the staples.

ENVELOPES: Submit 4 in x 9.5 in. post paid envelopes addressed to each person listed in items 6 & 7 of the affidavit, plus one return addressed envelope to mail documents to the Voluntary Administrator or the attorney. Check with the court you are filing in as not all courts require you to provide envelopes.


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