An Administrator Can Evict An Occupant From A Decedent’s Real Estate

A decedent’s estate is settled by either an Administrator or an Executor.  The estate fiduciary typically retains a New York City Estate Attorney to provide legal representation regarding the initial fiduciary appointment and subsequent administrative tasks.

One of the most important responsibilities of the fiduciary is to identify and collect estate assets.   The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has talked about this aspect of estate cases in many posts.   It is common that the primary asset owned by a decedent is real estate usually in the form of a residence. Such property can be a single family home, or a cooperative or condominium apartment.

A reoccurring problem faced by fiduciaries is that after someone dies, the property continues to be occupied by persons who have no right to continued possession. The executor or administrator who wants to sell the property or needs to transfer it in vacant condition has to evict the occupants. Eviction proceedings in estates can be complicated.

If the occupants are unrelated third parties the fiduciary can commence summary eviction cases in the local landlord-tenant court. In New York City this would be in the landlord-tenant part of the New York City Civil Court. Usually, the proceeding that is started is called a Hold-Over Proceeding. There is a Notice to Quit that is served on the occupants and then, if they refuse to vacate, a Petition is filed with the Landlord-Tenant Court and a Court date is obtained.

There are other situations when eviction proceedings can be maintained in the local Surrogate’s Court that is overseeing the decedent’s estate. These estate litigation proceedings can be either in the form of turn-over cases or ejectment proceedings. The Surrogate’s Court may be a more appropriate forum when the occupant is a family member or had some personal relationship to the decedent. This was the situation in a recent Suffolk Estate case decided by Suffolk County Surrogate John Czygier, Jr. on July 19, 2018 entitled Matter of the Estate of Rudin.   In Rudin, the decedent had owned a house that became occupied by an individual who had a personal relationship with the decedent. The estate administrator wanted to sell or lease the house which was the main estate asset. When the occupant refused to vacate, the Administrator commenced an ejectment proceeding in the Suffolk Surrogate’s Court. The Court found that the occupant did not have any right to maintain possession of the property. The Court granted an Order directing the occupant to vacate the property and if she failed to do so the local sheriff was authorized to remove her.

I have represented individuals with respect to all types of real estate matters concerning estates. My representation includes eviction proceedings in both the Surrogate’s Court and also the local landlord-tenant Courts. Call me now for a free review if you have a question regarding estate real estate or evictions.

New York Trusts and Estates Attorney Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to landlord tenant proceedings and estate settlement throughout New York City including Manhattan and Brooklyn.   If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

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