It is not unusual that after an executor or administrator is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court that he or she finds out there is estate litigation to contend with. For instance, the decedent may have left numerous debts which are unpaid and the creditors may decide to bring lawsuits to collect what is claimed to be due.
In other cases, a decedent may have been involved in a business or real estate transaction in which complex issues regarding claims or estate assets may be involved. Problems arise when lawsuits are initiated or have been pending in Courts other than the Surrogate’s Court. While creditors are allowed to file claims against an estate in the Surrogate’s Court, there are many instances where lawsuits might be instituted in other Courts, such as the New York State Supreme Court.
The problems faced by an estate fiduciary is that a law action that is pending in a Court different than the Surrogate’s Court may involve issues directly related to the administration of a decedent’s estate. Moreover, if there are a number of related lawsuits going on in different Courts, there may be overlapping and duplicative Court proceedings such as discovery or motions or even trials and hearings.