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Administration of Intestate Estates

When an individual dies without having executed a Will, the process by which someone is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court to Administer that Estate is called “Intestate Administration” and the person in charge of that estate administration is called an “Administrator”.  This process is begun by the filing of a Petition for Administration  with  the Surrogate’s Court in the County where the decedent was domiciled at death. Once appointed, the Administrator acts in the same manner as an Executor would (if the decedent had a Will). Specifically, the Administrator has the responsibilities of managing and collecting assets, filing and paying both income and estate taxes, if any, addressing creditors’ claims, and making distributions according to the laws of intestacy.

The main difference between the Administration of Intestate Estates and the Probate of Testate Estates is that New York law dictates how assets will be distributed when there was no Will, as opposed to following the decedent’s directives  as they are dictated in a Will. Contrary to popular belief, New York law does not require that assets go to ”the State” when someone dies without a Will. Rather, assets are divided by law among a decedent’s closest relatives; starting with spouses and children, if any, and if none,  then to parents, and if none living, then to siblings, and so forth. To ensure your assets will be distributed to those whom you choose, it is important to understand the laws of New York, and to execute a Will to ensure your assets are passed to those you direct.




Licensed in New York State
    The Witecki Law Office
(518) 372-2827
8 South Church Street
Schenectady, NY 12305