In the event a decedent created a Last Will and Testament, the document may have designated an out-of-state individual to serve as Executor. Contrary to some misinformation, there is no prohibition for a person who resides in another state or even another country to serve as a New York estate executor. Reference should be made to Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) Section 707, entitled “Eligibility to receive letters.” The statute provides that a non-domiciliary alien is not eligible to serve as a fiduciary. Thus, if a person resides in New York and is a qualified resident, or is a U.S. citizen and lives anywhere in the world, he would qualify to serve as an executor. The statute also allows a non-domiciliary alien to serve as a fiduciary as long as they serve with a New York resident co-fiduciary.
The above rules apply equally in the case where a decedent dies intestate. An out-of-state distributee (next of kin) can qualify as the administrator. SCPA Section 1001 entitled “Order of priority for granting letters of administration” identifies the persons who can become administrators based upon their relation to the decedent.