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For Estate Planning, Estate Administration And Disputes

When can you appoint an administrator for your estate?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

When a person dies, they leave behind their surviving loved ones and all their assets and liabilities that compose their estate. Estate administration begins after their death and will continue regardless of whether that person has an estate plan or not. The estate administrator will oversee the estate administration process. You do not appoint an estate administrator; the court appoints one for you. They will manage your estate, settle your affairs and distribute your assets according to New York’s laws.

How the court will appoint an estate administrator

The problem with leaving the estate administration process to a court-appointed administrator is that you cannot guarantee they will follow your last wishes and precise instructions. You do not know who the court will choose, but usually, it is the “closest distributee” or, in simpler terms, the closest living legal heir. A decedent’s spouse will have priority over the children. If your spouse refuses or you have no spouse or children, the court will appoint your next of kin.

An individual who is lower on the priority list can ask your spouse or children to forfeit their right to be your estate administrator. All legal heirs above that individual on the priority list must agree in writing before the court can appoint them. The court might also name co-administrators if there are multiple parties on the same level of kinship.

As you see, the entire process can become incredibly confusing and complex. Several parties may contest the court’s appointment and argue that they, too, have a right to administer your estate. Furthermore, the estate administrator may not have your loved ones’ best interests in mind. They could take advantage of your grieving spouse or children. The people who mean the most to you could suffer as a result.

How to protect your loved ones

If you want to have a say on who will administer your estate, you can appoint an estate executor in your will. The good news is that you can choose and appoint your estate executor today. Remember to choose someone you trust to honor your wishes and protect your family’s interests.