A Voluntary Administration in New York is handy for small estates. In a Voluntary Administration, the Surrogate relaxes the rules normally involved in a Probate or Administration proceeding. The Voluntary Administrator pays a nominal fee of $1 and collects and distributes each asset to the rightful heirs or distributees. Thereafter, the Voluntary Administrator files an accounting for each asset.
To proceed with a Voluntary Administration in New York, decedent's assets must be $30,000 or less, which includes any pending litigation such as a wrongful death suit.
Voluntary Administrations a/k/a Small Estates
May voluntary administration be used for real property (land)?
Yes, a voluntary administration may be used if the decedent owned joint real property plus personal property and non-testamentary assets such as causes of action, anticipated or pending, provided that the sum of all assets does not exceed $30,000.
Who may serve as a voluntary administrator?
If the decedent dies with a valid Will, the Surrogate’s Court will first appoint the nominated Executor in the Will as the voluntary administrator. If the decedent dies without a valid Will, then priority is given to the surviving spouse, an adult child, a parent or a sibling, in that order.
What must I do to be appointed and perform my duties as a voluntary administrator?
The voluntary administrator must file an affidavit along with a death certificate of the decedent. The voluntary administrator must list the specific assets with corresponding values on the affidavit and must send notices to all heirs of the decedent. The voluntary administrator must also open an estate account in order to collect and place each of the decedent's assets, from which he will pay estate expenses such as funeral and legal bills. The voluntary administrator then presents a short form certificate to each depository or person from whom he or she is collecting the decedent’s personal property. Finally, the voluntary administrator will distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries and file a final accounting with the Surrogate’s Court.
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