Exploring the Surrogate's Court: What Does a Probate Court Do in New York State?

The Surrogate Court in New York State is responsible for dealing with matters related to the deceased, such as legalizing wills and administering probate. Every county in the state has its own Surrogate Court, with the New York City Probate Court or Surrogate Court having jurisdiction over matters concerning decedents' estates. Probate proceedings are conducted when a person has a last will, while administrative proceedings are conducted when a person dies without a will or without a valid will. The Surrogate Court also handles accounting procedures, which involve the Executor or Administrator providing a record of all financial transactions related to the decedent's estate.

These procedures may be amicable or may involve disputes and litigation. Accounting contains many different schedules that provide information about wealth transactions. For example, Schedule A may list all of the principal assets that the estate trustee collected during the administration of the estate. Another annex may list all the items that the estate paid for as administration expenses, such as the administration or maintenance of real estate and the income and inheritance taxes due. There are also tables that show the amount of equity assets that remain to be paid to the beneficiaries and describe the calculation of trust fees. Executors and administrators are entitled to receive a fee or commission in connection with their actions as trustees of the estate.

Section 2307 of the Subrogate Judicial Procedure Act establishes the amount of legal fees that are allowed. If it is determined that there is a breach of fiduciary duty, the Court may refuse to pay commissions to an Executor or Administrator. In New York State (NYS), if a family member with legal priority does not want to manage an estate, they can sign a waiver and appoint someone else as administrator of the estate, for consideration and approval by the Surrogate Court. A petition is required to initiate proceedings in subrogate court. Clerks are useful during most court navigation, however, they are prohibited from providing legal advice. If someone passes away without leaving behind a will, this is known as intestate probate and their property is distributed according to New York's intestate succession law.

If someone dies with a will, this is known as probate and their property is divided according to their will. Letters of administration (“letters”) are documents issued by the substitute court of the county where the decedent lived at the time of death that allow a person known as a “trustee” to manage or distribute assets. The distributor can sign a waiver (waiving their rights) and consent to the appointment of an executor or go to court to disagree with it. The decedent's distributors (heirs who are entitled to a share of their property) must also be listed in an estate petition. During probate legalization, it must be proven that it is indeed the last will and testament of the deceased. Clerks can help people get through probate proceedings to some extent if they don't have an attorney.

However, it is important to note that Ariel is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey, and is also a member of several organizations including NYSBA Elderly Law Section and NAELA. Probate proceedings can be complex and time-consuming, so it is important for those involved in them to understand what they entail. The Surrogate Court in New York State plays an important role in handling matters related to deceased individuals, such as legalizing wills and administering probate. It is also responsible for accounting procedures, which involve providing records of all financial transactions related to decedents' estates. Executors and administrators may be entitled to receive commissions for their services, while those who die without wills have their property distributed according to New York's intestate succession law.

Kristie Funn
Kristie Funn

Hardcore tvaholic. Hardcore zombie advocate. Friendly pop culture junkie. Avid bacon fanatic. Amateur tv aficionado.