Time after time, estate executors and administrators seem to be confronted by a common problem – the sale of estate realty occupied by a family member. The duty or obligation of the estate fiduciary is to collect and protect the estate assets and satisfy the decedent’s debts and obligations and finally, to effectuate distribution of estate assets according to the provisions of a Last Will and Testament or the laws of intestacy. The many facets of estate settlement have been discussed in numerous articles posted in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog.
Real estate, typically the residence of the decedent, is the largest asset in an estate. Very often after the death of the decedent, the residence continues to be occupied by a family member or a third party. When the real estate must or should be liquidated to allow an estate to be administered and finalized, the individuals remaining in occupancy must be evicted. As is commonly known, evicting persons from their homes is neither pleasant nor easy.
In the case of a decedent’s estate, commencing summary proceedings in the local landlord tenant Court may be the most efficient avenue as to non-related third-party occupants. However, when a case involves relatives or estate beneficiaries, the Surrogate’s Court procedures often offer a more accommodating forum. Depending upon the preferences of the local court, a proceeding to remove an occupant from estate property may be commenced in the form of a turn-over proceeding or possibly as an ejectment case. Article 19 of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act entitled “Disposition of Real Property” also provides a procedure to have the Court direct a sale or disposition of the realty. My Blog, referred to above, has discussed these eviction matters in earlier posts.