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SETTLEMENT OF SMALL ESTATES - NEW YORK VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATION

Important - Some small estates may be settled without any court filing at all. Before you go to court, find out whether you can collect the decedent’s accounts using the Small Estate Affidavit allowed under SCPA 1310. Click here to find out if you qualify to use our free online forms.


OR


If your situation requires the appointment of a voluntary administrator, read on…  



What is the definition of a small estate?

A small estate is the estate of an individual who dies leaving personal property having a gross value of $30,000 or less.

What is a voluntary administrator?

A voluntary administrator is a person who qualifies and undertakes to settle the estate of a decedent without the formality of a full court administration.


What kind of property is subject to voluntary administration?

Voluntary administration does not apply to any interest in real property that the decedent may own. However, ownership of real property does not preclude the use of voluntary administration to administer the personal property.


Who may become a voluntary administrator?

A. If the decedent died without a Will, the right to act as voluntary administrator is given first to the spouse and then, in order of preference, to an adult child or grandchild, parent, brother or sister, niece or nephew or aunt or uncle of the decedent. If there be no such person to act, then the law provides for various other persons that may act.


B. If the decedent died with a Will, the named executor or alternate executor has the first right to act as voluntary administrator. However, the decedent’s Last Will and Testament must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court upon making the application for voluntary letters.


What is the Voluntary Administration Procedure?

To be appointed voluntary administrator you must file an "Affidavit in Relation to Settlement of Estate Under Article 13" in the Surrogate’s Court located in the county where the decedent resided. You will also need to file an original death certificate.


Can I do this myself without an attorney?

If you wish to proceed without an attorney, you may obtain free voluntary administration forms and other helpful information on the Surrogate’s Court Small Estate Affidavit Program Web site.  If you still need help, give us call at (516) 780-0281.


How much does it cost to file for voluntary letters?

If you prepare the papers on your own and file them yourself, the cost is minimal. The court fee for filing the Affidavit is $1.00.


What do I do after I am appointed voluntary administrator?

Just like any other fiduciary, you would collect the decedent’s assets, pay any debts or expenses and distribute the balance to the beneficiaries of the Will or to the distributees under the laws of intestacy.


How do I close the estate?

Once you have fully distributed the estate, you would file a "Report & Account in Settlement of Pursuant to Article 13."


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Main Office:

100 Garden City Plaza, Suite 300

Garden City, NY 11530

(516) 780-0281

(631) 944-8034

(718) 360-9014

Author: Rudolf J. Karvay

Do-It-Yourself:

Surrogate’s Court Free Small Estate Document Preparation Program

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