There are various types of fiduciary appointments granted by the New York State Surrogate’s Court. The Court may appoint an Executor and issue Letters Testamentary. This occurs in connection with the probate of a Last Will and Testament. If the decedent dies intestate, the Court appoints an Administrator and issues Letters of Administration. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles discussing the probate and administration process.
Sometimes when the Court proceedings for the probate of a Will or an intestate administration proceeding is delayed, the Surrogate might appoint a Preliminary Executor or Temporary Administrator. This may occur where there is a Will Contest or Kinship cannot be determined without a kinship hearing.
An important aspect of any fiduciary appointment is the extent of powers granted to the fiduciary by the Court. Essentially, the fiduciary can only perform those functions which the Court or the estate laws allow. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 11-1.1 entitled “Fiduciaries’ powers” lists many types of authority which an Administrator or Executor might possess, such as the power to sell assets, invest assets, pay expenses, collect income and engage in litigation on behalf of an estate. However, in many instances, the Court Decree appointing the fiduciary may restrict or limit the authority.