New York Estate Administration Lawyers | Cona Elder Law

Estate Administration

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New York Estate Administration

In the event your loved one passes without executing a Last Will & Testament, someone will be required to step in to administer the estate. This person, known as an Administrator, will be tasked with collecting assets, paying bills, selling property and distributing assets to your heirs in accordance with New York State Laws (the Laws of Intestacy).  Under New York law, the priority of who can serve as Administrator starts with:

  • Surviving husband or wife
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Any other heir who is eligible to qualify

The individual with the highest priority has first right to serve as the Administrator of the estate — unless they are disqualified.

Who Can’t Serve as Administrator?

People who are disqualified from serving as the Administrator of an estate include:

  • Convicted felons
  • Incompetents (Incapacitated individuals)
  • Minors
  • Non-domiciliary people and
  • Anyone else who is "unfit". This final category is intentionally broad and leaves discretion to the courts to determine whether a person is qualified.

What Happens If More than One Person Has a Right to Serve?

If more than one individual has the same priority position, each person will have an equal right to serve as Administrator. For example, if a decedent leaves behind two children and no spouse, the two children have an equal right to serve. As a result, they can decide to:

  • Agree that only one child will serve
  • Agree to serve together or
  • Litigate and let the Court decide who is the most qualified to serve as Administrator.


Probate is the legal process by which a deceased individual’s Last Will and Testament is admitted to Probate and their property is distributed following their death. Considering the enormous emotional burden associated with losing a loved one, the New York probate attorneys at Cona Elder Law will help you navigate the complex legal and financial considerations of the probate process.

If you’re appointed as the administrator of the estate when there is no Will or named the Executor in a Will, the experienced New York probate and estate administration attorneys at Cona Elder Law will guide you along every step of the way with:

  • Protecting and marshaling assets
  • Creating a comprehensive inventory of the estate assets
  • Paying claims made against the estate
  • Paying bills
  • Making distributions to beneficiaries

Simply put, we’ll be with you every step of the way and help ensure all affairs are in order.

Learn more about the New York probate attorneys at Cona Elder Law.  

New York Estate Administration vs Probate

Probate and Administration are two very similar proceedings. During both, a representative is appointed to manage the estate of the deceased individual with the goal of transferring assets to the beneficiaries of the estate. Even though Probate is often used interchangeably with Administration, the two are not the same.

  1. Administration is when someone dies without a valid Will and is known as dying “intestate”.
  2. Probate is when a person dies “testate” or with a Last Will & Testament. This process is referred to as probating the will.


The last step in administering an estate is to prepare a comprehensive accounting of the financial transactions occurring within the estate. The fiduciary must account for all assets received, income and interest earned, all bills paid, commissions earned, and any distributions made to beneficiaries.  In the end, the accounting absolves the fiduciary from liability.

The accounting is typically prepared at the end of the estate administration — prior to any distributions being made to beneficiaries. In the most general sense, the accounting should include:

  • A clear listing of the estate assets
  • Income from assets
  • Payments of expenses and debts
  • Sale/liquidation of assets
  • Interim distributions and
  • Any remaining property

As the administrator of the estate, you have a lot on your plate. The experienced New York estate administration attorneys at Cona Elder Law can help you prepare all required accountings. We’ll use our decades of experience to alleviate the burden on you, so you can focus on more pressing matters.

Learn more about our estate administration accounting services.

Contact Cona Elder Law for New York Estate Administration

As the Executor or Administrator of your loved one’s estate, you'll have many responsibilities. You’ll be required to interact and communicate with family members and others under a potentially contentious situation. In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate exceptional organizational skills and financial savvy, negotiate court proceedings, and remain available to beneficiaries.

You’re also likely to be required to make certain administrative and tax decisions along the way. Far too often, all of these decisions and elections directly impact the lives of the beneficiaries for years to come.

However, you don’t have to do it alone. The New York estate administration attorneys at Cona Elder Law are here for you. We offer a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to assist you every step of the way. Our probate and estate administration attorneys bring decades of experience helping people like you find peace of mind following the death of a loved one.

Contact Cona Elder Law today for experienced New York estate administration assistance.

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