New York Law, under the Surrogates Court Procedure Act § 1301(1), provides a simplified method of collecting assets titled in a decedent’s name alone at the date of death, as long as the gross value of the assets do not exceed Fifty-Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), excluding certain exempt property.
The statute lists those persons, in relation to the decedent, who may seek permission to administer the estate, referred to as the “Voluntary Administrator”. The proceeding is commenced by filing with the Surrogate’s Court, an affidavit (a/k/a the “Small Estate Affidavit”) together with a certain supporting documentation and a nominal filing fee.
The affidavit includes information concerning the following:
- decedent domicile, date and place of death;
- the applicant’s interest in the estate;
- names and addresses of the next of kin (spouse, children, etc); and
- the type and value of the assets that the Voluntary Administrator is seeking to collect and distribute.
In preparing the application, the following is required:
- Certified death certificate;
- Copies of any checks received that have been written to the order of the decedent, if any;
- Financial statements in the name of decedent alone, if any;
- Copies of stock certificates, bonds or other property that is titled in decedent’s name alone.
In response to a properly filed application, the Surrogate Court will issue a “Notice of Administration” to the next of kin (naming the person seeking to become administrator) and a “Certificate of Voluntary Administration” appointing a Voluntary Administrator and granting him or her the authority to open a bank estate account not to exceed $50,000.00 and to collect assets belonging to the decedent.
Note: The information provided above is for educational purposes only, not legal advice.
 See, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 5-3.1