Surrogate's Court - Administration

Decedent DID NOT leave a Will

When a New York domiciliary dies without a Will (intestate), an ADMINISTRATION is the process in which Letters are issued to a distributee of the decedent who is eligible to receive them. Thus, it must be determined who are and who are not distributees. EPTL §1-2.5 defines a distributee as a "person entitled to take or share in the property of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution." EPTL §4-1.1 establishes the rules for the descent and distribution of a decedent's estate. It is necessary to file a petition with the court. A petition is the pleading required to commence a proceeding in surrogate's court. FORMS are available at the court. If you have any questions, please call the Surrogate's Court in whatever County you will be filing. [Note: If the decedent died with a Will, the proceeding is a PROBATE proceeding.]

The following information is for use with the uniform court forms.

1. Administration Proceeding - decedent died intestate

A. Caption
Enter the decedent's name as it appears on the death certificate. If the name on the death certificate is incorrect, submit an affidavit explaining mistake and request that correct name be used.

B. Petitioner Information
SCPA § 1001 classifies the priorities for granting letters of administration. Carefully review EPTL §4-1.1 and 1.2 If the petitioner is not a distributee, explain the basis for submitting the petition. See SCPA §1002

C. Decedent Information
The caption and ¶ 2 must be consistent. Enter decedent's domiciliary address. If the address on the death certificate is different from the decedent's domiciliary address supply an affidavit explaining the inconsistency.

D. Decedent Distributees
SCPA § 1001 classifies the priorities for granting letters of administration. Carefully review EPTL §4-1.1 and 1.2 . Jurisdiction and the validity of the decree is dependent on providing accurate and complete information. If first cousins or first cousins once removed are distributees on one side and no distributees are found on the other side, the Public Administrator must be appointed. See EPTL § 4-1.1 and SCPA § 1001. Contact the Public Administrator and arrange for him to sign the oath and designation.

E. Value of Estate Assets
If the petition is for letters of administration, also enter the gross rents for 18 months and a brief description of the real property. Administrators may be required to post a bond unless funeral directors, major creditors and distributees sign waivers of citation which specifically dispense with a bond. If a cause of action exists for wrongful death/conscious pain and suffering a limitation or bond may be imposed.

F. Prayer for Relief
Unless all persons having a beneficial interest in the estate have specifically waived the filing of a surety bond by the prosed administrator, a bond may be required or limitations imposed.

G. Decree
Specify if the administrator is to serve without bond. Include any necessary limitations. If the court dispenses with the service of a citation on any distributee, add a limitation clause as follows: "Upon judicial settlement of the account process shall issue to the following distributees:{list names}".

THIS MATERIAL IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL/TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY. It is intended for use in conjunction with review of the applicable statute and rules of the Surrogate's Court and the Surrogate's Court Operations Manual.