An estate in New York is administered by an Executor or Administrator. These Surrogate’s Court appointees have a fiduciary obligation to collect the decedent’s assets and also to resolve or pay all estate debts and obligations.
It is not always easy when a person dies for the estate fiduciary to determine the nature and extent of the decedent’s debts. There may be a period of time after death when the decedent’s mail and other information needs to be reviewed to see what credit cards, medical bills or mortgage payments are outstanding. The administrator or executor must determine and resolve all of these obligations before the estate can be settled and the net estate funds can be distributed to the estate beneficiaries. If the fiduciary distributes estate assets to beneficiaries before estate claims are resolved, the fiduciary may be personally liable for the payment of these items. Continue reading