In New York, you either have an estate plan or the state has one for you through an administration proceeding, which can have adverse consequences and "laughing heirs" who are named such because they are usually very remote from the decedent and are unaware that they were even in line to receive an inheritance. If you have a Will, you nominate an Executor and a successor Executor who submits a Probate Petition to the court of the county where you were domiciled at date of death. Once the decedent's Will is admitted to probate, the court appoints an Executor who is usually the person nominated by the Will maker. If you pass away without a Will, the court appoints an Administrator for your estate based on the closeness of their relationship to you. Administartors are commonly surviving spouses, children, or other close relatives.