There are essentially two (2) different paths to follow for the appointment of a fiduciary after someone dies. In order to administer and settle an estate, there must be an executor or an administrator. If the decedent left a Last Will and Testament, then a probate proceeding is going to be filed in the Surrogate’s Court. This involves filing the original Will along with a petition for probate and other supporting papers.
In cases where there is no Will, the decedent is considered to have died intestate. As a result, a petition for letters of administration is presented to the Surrogate’s Court. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog contains many informative articles discussing issues concerning probate and intestate estate proceedings.
Unfortunately, the process to obtain full letters testamentary or letters of administration can take a number of months. Will Contests, kinship disputes, and other matters involving estate litigation may delay the finalization of these proceedings for long periods of time. The dilemma faced by a potential fiduciary and others interested in an estate is how to deal with current problems which can affect estate assets. For example, there may be pending proceedings in litigation concerning a decedent, or the need to sell or secure assets before values are compromised.