Estate Administration

Our Work as Estate Administration Lawyers in Clifton Park and the Surrounding Albany Area:

Estate administration requires the knowledge of attorneys who understand your needs. Our years of experience in this area of the law provide you with unique benefits. A good way to begin is to call us at 518-371-5977 or contact us now for a consultation. In the meantime please read on as we offer some key introductory information for you below which can acquaint you with the subject of estate administration and how we can assist you.

In New York, there are two basic types of estate administration:  probate administration in which the deceased prepared a will to control the distribution of his/her assets and intestate administration in which the deceased failed to prepare a will.  Two additional categories of estate administration are small estate administration and non-probate estate administration.  They are discussed individually below.

  • Probate Administration In probate administration the assets owned by the deceased are distributed by a named executor in accordance with the deceased’s wishes as set forth in his/her will.  The first step to probate administration is to “prove” the will in Surrogate’s Court.  This involves submitting the will to the court for review of its adherence to the formalities of execution and notifying relevant parties of the submission of the will in order for them to make any objections they may have to its acceptance by the Court. Once the will has been formally accepted by the Court (admitted to probate) letters testamentary are issued to the executor authorizing him/her to act on behalf of the estate.  The executor then begins the process of marshaling and managing the assets, preparing an inventory of assets to provide to the Court, paying the debts of the estate, distributing such assets as remain to the beneficiaries named in the will and making a final accounting.  This process requires a minimum of seven months to complete and often may take more than a year.
  • Intestate Administration  When an individual dies without having prepared and properly executed a will his/her assets will be distributed in accordance with the “law of intestacy.” In intestate administration the assets owned by the deceased are distributed in accordance with rules established by statute. The individual handling the estate administration might not be the person the deceased would have chosen to do so. The administrator performs the same functions for an intestate administration as an executor performs for a probate administration. The distribution of the assets under these circumstances can often produce unintended results.  For example, under intestacy, the estate of an individual who is survived by a spouse and children will be divided between the spouse and children even if the deceased would have preferred to leave everything solely to the surviving spouse.
  • Small Estate Administration  An estate consisting of personal property with a gross value of $30,000.00 or less can be administered as a “small estate” without many of the formal procedural aspects of a probate or intestate administration.  A small estate allows for informal collection and distribution of assets to be carried out by a voluntary administrator.  Under the proper circumstances, this can be an inexpensive and expedient method of settling an estate.
  • Non-probate  Non-probate estate administration involves the passing of assets outside of the purview of the Surrogate Court.  This occurs when an asset passes by operation of law or by contract and re-titling can take place upon the mere presentation of the death certificate. Some examples include a bank account or a piece of real estate held jointly with right of survivorship with the deceased, a trust into which assets have been re-titled with specific instructions for their distribution to the ultimate beneficiaries, and life insurance or retirement benefits left to a specific beneficiary as opposed to the deceased’s estate.  The administration of these assets can generally be handled by presentation of a certified death certificate to the third party having custody of the assets.

It would be our honor to serve you if you require the assistance of an Estate Administration attorney in the Capital District. We can set up an appointment for you to evaluate your situation. Please call us at 518-371-5977 or contact us now.