Estate & Trust Administration
When a person passes away, it may be necessary to commence an estate proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court. An estate administration is broken up into several proceedings. Before any other proceedings can be made, someone has to be appointed the fiduciary of the estate, either as an executor if there is a Will or as an administrator if there is no Will. Once appointed, the fiduciary must marshal the assets of the estate and then account to the beneficiaries. This means selling assets as quickly as possible near the market value at the time of death or converting the assets into safe and secure investments to protect from the loss of principal. Further, the fiduciary is responsible for the filing of all necessary tax returns, which includes the final income tax return of the decedent, any Federal or State estate tax returns if the estate exceeds certain asset levels, as well as annual income tax returns for an estate which has income. Finally, the fiduciary will account to the distributees of the estate. There may be other proceedings a fiduciary has to participate in or bring. Some will fall under the control of the Surrogate’s Court, like guardianship proceedings, kinship proceedings and ancillary probate or administration proceedings when the decedent owned property or resided outside New York State. Others will be under the domain of other courts where the fiduciary may have to bring an action on behalf of or defend actions brought against the estate. These can include wrongful death actions in the Supreme Court of New York, personal injury lawsuit, breach of contract, and eviction or ejection actions.
Trust administration is similar to that of estate administration except a trust is established for the long term, whether it is years, decades or centuries. Currently, under New York law, a non-charitable trust must terminate within a specific time period, described as the rule against perpetuity. The goals of a trust may allow greater flexibility in terms of investment, but the trust’s fiduciary, called a Trustee, has many of the same issues as an estate. The Trustee must manage the assets of the trust for the benefit of beneficiaries. As used in an estate plan, a trust may be used to by-pass probate and provide for privacy of the decedent.
Contact the Rothenberg Law Offices, PLLC
If you have recently lost someone, now is the time to contact a law firm to explain and help you handle the complicated process for administrating the estate. At the Rothenberg Law Offices, we have over thirty years of experience helping families settle the estates of loved ones. We will explain the difference between the types of administrations and which applies to your families situation. Sometimes, we can show the family how to avoid probate or administration. Call for a free 30-minute consultation to learn the best direction to approach handling the estate.