What happens if your loved one dies without a Will?

If your loved one dies without a Will and resides in New York State, then the proceeding that would be commenced is called an Administration proceeding.    An interested party, generally a relative, would retain the services of a probate attorney such as our office to assist them with the filing of all the administration papers and court appearances required by each case.   The needs of each case vary depending on the circumstances, relatives and how the matter is dealt with.

The family tree information must be obtained and processed.   Documents and information must be presented to the court to ensure that the jurisdiction over all the necessary parties is obtained.    In order to notify all the necessary parties and obtain jurisdiction over every party, either the party signs a specific form or is served with a Citation and appears in Court.   Once that has been completed and the Court is satisfied with that aforementioned step, then the Court will appoint an Administrator of the Estate. That is the fiduciary or the Estate’s representative.    If there is an emergency or other pressing issue and a legal matter needs to be addressed, our office can obtain preliminary letters in such cases and in emergencies to advance the process.

Upon appointment of a representative of the Estate,  our office will begin the search and collection of all the Estate assets as well as tending to any pressing issues such as insurance, collection of rent and perhaps a sale or business matter.

Once the assets are all collected, the debt information is gathered; an informal accounting process can begin.  The informal accounting is a document prepared by the attorney but signed by the representative of the Estate after careful review which provides to all the necessary parties who are beneficiaries and distributes of an estate what the gross value of the estate is, net value and information about all the debts.   It also includes the proposed distribution amounts and when to expect same.    Prior to this stage, our office will advise you and assist you in filing the estate tax returns and personal tax returns of the decedent, where applicable.

Upon approval of the informal accounting, the matter is then distributed and concluded after all the necessary closing documents are executed and collected.   Then the matter is closed.   If an informal accounting is not acceptable, we will file and obtain the necessary court approval for distribution whether it is via a judicial accounting or other procedure.

If your loved one did not reside in New York State but has property in New York State and no Will – then you need an ancillary administration proceeding.    It is a little less complicated but the Estate will need to file the necessary papers and have the representative appointed in New York to handle the matters within New York State.  The administrator does not need to be in New York.    The administrator simply needs to retain the services of a New York probate attorney such as our office.   We will do the rest for you.





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