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How to Change an Estate Administrator in New York Frequently Asked Questions

Administration is the legal process that is necessary when passes away. During the process the decedent’s estate is settled and his (or her) assets are distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. The estate administrator or executor appointed by the Surrogate’s Court is charged with the responsibility of winding up the decedent’s estate, paying estate debts, and distributing the assets. However, in order to serve as administrator, the individual must be qualified, and remain qualified. If he or she becomes ineligible to serve as administrator, an interested party has the right to petition the court to have the executor’s authority suspended, modified or revoked. To learn more about the rules related to how to change an estate administrator, executor, or trustee, contact an experienced probate lawyer serving New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

How can I have an estate administrator removed?

When an estate administrator or other fiduciary is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court, the judge will issue the fiduciary a document called letters. The court will issue letters only after it determines that the person who petitioned for the letters is qualified. Letters are conclusive proof that the person named therein has been appointed by the court and has the legal authority to take certain actions as fiduciary. As a New York probate lawyer will explain, there are many different types of letters. The letters will state the authority given to the fiduciary as well as any restrictions. In addition, the Surrogate’s Court may require the fiduciary to post a bond. If the fiduciary is unable to do so, then the court may revoke his or her letters.

If an estate administrator is no longer qualified to serve, or if he or she breaches his fiduciary duty, then the court on its own motion, or upon petition by an interested, can revoke the administrators letters.

What are reasons for removing an estate administrator?

Grounds for removing an estate administrator or executor include that the person is no longer qualified because he is not a resident of the United States, that he has become a convicted felon, or that he is under a legal disability.

Other reasons include that the administrator has wasted the assets of the estate or made unauthorized or improvident investments, damaged estate property, failed to notify the court of an address change, or removed estate property without prior court approval. In addition, failure without good cause to obey a direction of the court is grounds for removal.

There are also instances in which the term of the will direct that an executor’s service as executor would end upon the occurrence of a contingency. If you have questions related to the qualifications to be a fiduciary, or if your or concerned that a fiduciary in an estate matter in which you have an interest is no longer qualified, discuss you concerns with an experienced probate lawyer in New York.

Appointing a new administrator

Appointing a new administrator or executor after removal involves the same process as appointing the original administrator. Anyone wishing to be appointed must submit a petition to the Surrogate’s Court. If the person is eligible and meets the qualifications, the court will issue him or her letters.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

For over two decades the New York probate attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have successfully represented clients in matters related to probate, estate administration, and estate litigation before the New York Surrogate’s Court. If you have questions or concerns related to how to change an estate administrator, contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Long Island, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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Mr. Bilkis handled both my father and mother's estate issues through very difficult times he was compassionate kind and understanding. In fact the whole firm showed great empathy. Despite the emotional hard time we were having that quickly and efficiently handle all the matters that were necessary to get us the result we desired. Can't recommend them enough. B.B.
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