A New York Preliminary Executor Can Be Appointed Before A Will Is Admitted To Probate

The probate process in New York City can be very complex . There are numerous statutes in the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) and the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA), as well as Court rules, that deal with the probate of a Last Will.

Many cases in the Surrogate’s Court become involved in disputes and estate litigation. These contested matters can significantly delay estate settlement. Among the problems that can be encountered are Will Contests, disputes regarding Kinship and controversies concerning the appointment of the Executor. The Court, as well as the parties interested in an estate, are always concerned that any litigation in the Court will result in the decedent’s estate being unattended to which may adversely affect the assets or other interests of the decedent.The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has previously discussed the situation where it may be necessary to appoint a Preliminary Executor or Temporary Administrator to handle estate affairs during the time when any dispute is ongoing. Such an appointment allows estate matters to be processed and protected until there is a final resolution of the pending controversy. SCPA Section 1412 entitled “Preliminary letters testamentary”, provides the guidelines for the appointment of a Preliminary Executor.   SCPA Section 902 entitled “Procedure for appointment of temporary administrator” provides the rules for a temporary administrator appointment.

I have represented many clients in connection with appointment of a preliminary executor or temporary administrator in Brooklyn estate cases and Manhattan estate cases and in other New York Courts.

A recent case decided by Manhattan Surrogate Nora Anderson on December 21, 2017 entitled Estate of Gnatzy is an example of a situation where the Court appointed a Preliminary Executor. In Gnatzy, one of the estate beneficiaries claimed that the individual who was petitioning the Court to be appointed as Executor was unfit to act as Executor. Since the court proceedings regarding the actual appointment of the Executor would be time-consuming, the Court appointed the person applying to be the Executor as the Preliminary Executor in the interim. The Court did not find the assertions by the estate beneficiary regarding the petitioner’s qualifications to be sufficient to prevent his appointment as Preliminary Executor.

The appointment of an estate fiduciary such as an Executor or Administrator requires the submission to the Court many documents and information regarding the estate and the parties interested in the estate. I have assisted many persons regarding fiduciary appointments. If you have an issue regarding an estate or the appointment of an Executor or Administrator, Call Me Now for a free review.

New York Trusts and Estates Attorney Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to probate and estate settlement throughout New York City including Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

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