Elder Law and Estate Planning
Serving the New York Metropolitan Area

Estate & Trust Administration

Often one barely has time to come to terms with the loss of a loved one before being overwhelmed by the pressures of taking care of an estate. Questions you may ask yourself are: Who will get an inheritance? What do I do about family disagreements? Where did the deceased hide the Will? What are my responsibilities as an Executor?

Estate administration begins after you die and continues whether you had done estate planning or not. Estate administration is the process by which your assets are collected and distributed after all debts are paid. Estate administration can last from several months to several years, depending on how complex your estate is, the ability of your executor or administrator to locate your assets and your family, and whether there are any disputes or disagreements.

If you do not have a Will, the court process is called an "Administration Proceeding". The representative for your estate is called the “Administrator.” The legal document that makes that person the administrator is called the “Letters of Administration.” The court will choose an Administrator based on who is available. The court makes the decision in the following order: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings. If you have multiple heirs on one level, like brothers and sisters, the court will usually name them as Co-Administrators; or, the Surrogate’s Court may name a person as administrator if all the heirs agree, even if that person is not first in priority. However, everyone in line above the person who asks to be administrator must agree in writing before the court will go out of order.

What You Can Expect

The Keller Legal Group will provide assistance from beginning to end, from filing the petition to appointing the executor/personal representative, securing the property, preparing the estate tax returns, disbursing estate proceeds to heirs, and producing the final accounts to the court. We are also available to serve as executor and/or trustee.