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When someone passes away, they leave their assets. Their heirs have to go through a probate or administration proceeding in order to get those assets transferred to them. Sometimes, however, the value of the assets is too small. As a result, it’s not cost effective to go through the proceedings. In New York, heirs can bring a small estate proceedings, regardless of whether there’s a will or not. Under Article 13 of the SCPA, small estate petitions can be opened to administer personal property – like bank accounts. If the decedent owned property in his own name, a small estate doesn’t allow the heirs to take control of the property. You must go through the full administration of the probate, in order to take control of the property in this case. Jointly owned property, such as a marital home, passes by law – and doesn’t need to go through administration hearings. Assets which the recently departed owned in joint accounts, or with beneficiary designations, go straight to the heirs – and bypasses the Surrogate Court. No court intervention is required.
Estates with no more $30,000 can be administered by a voluntary administrator. This limit doesn’t include the exempt property that EPTL %-3.1, gives to the decedent’s spouse/children under 21. Estates larger than $30,000 – the will has to be probated, or the estate must be administered. If a voluntary administration occurs, and it’s determined than the estate is larger than $30,000 – then the administrator has to notify the court and petition to become the executor or administrator of the estate. If the recently departed left a will, then the person named in the will has the priority to serve as the executor. If the recently departed died intestate, then the priority goes to the remaining spouse, children, and then his/her parents.
Our New York small estate proceeding lawyers can help you take possession of your spouses estate. We can file the necessary paperwork, in the county in which your spouse/loved one lived. The affidavit we file, will list the assets, with their value which are to be administered. We can submit an amended affidavit, with other assets later – if you realize there are other assets which you need control. After the court processes and approves our petition, a certificate will be issued for each asset. The administrator can use this to collect the assets. If you need more guidance, contact our attorneys today.