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Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1413: Revocation of Letters Upon Proof of Will

Regardless of whether or not a decedent wrote a will, when a decedent passes away, one of the first steps in winding up his (or her) affairs and distributing his assets is for the New York Surrogate’s Court to appoint someone to serve as the administrator of the decedent’s estate and issue that person letters testamentary. If the person left a will, the person named as executor in the will is typically the person appointed by the court to serve as executor. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint an eligible person who petitions the court. In some instances the court will issue letters, believing the decedent to be intestate, but later a will is produced. Under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1413, Revocation of letters upon proof of will, the Surrogate’s Court must revoke the letters issued prior to the submission of a will. To learn more about the requirements for letters testamentary, contact an experienced New York probate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Related statutory provisions
  1. Citation upon filing of objections: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1411
  2. Preliminary letters testamentary: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1412
  3. When letters testamentary may be issued: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1414
  4. Supplementary letters, executors not named in letters not to act: Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, § 1415
Types of letters of administration

“Letters” are a legal document issued by the Surrogate’s Court as evidence that a person has been formally appointed to serve as executor estate administrator of a decedent’s estate. As an experienced probate attorney in New York will explain, there are several different types of letters issued under a variety of circumstances.

  • Letters testamentary. Letters issue to the executor nominated by a testator in a will
  • Letters of administration. Letters issued to the estate administrator appointed by the Surrogate’s Court in cases where a decedent passed away without a will.
  • Temporary letters of administration. Letters issued in conjunction with temporary administration. A person who was issued temporary letters generally has the same powers that an administrator who was issued letters of administration, except that he or she would not have the authority to make distributions from an estate.
  • Preliminary letters of administration. Preliminary letters may be granted to a nominated executor so that he or she can perform duties on behalf of the estate in order to complete such activities that would preserve the estate, including pay debts and make investment decisions. As a New York probate attorney will explain, without letters, the nominated executor would not be able to complete such activities.
Revocation of letters upon proof of will

After a Surrogate’s Court judge has issued letters, there are circumstances under which those letters can be revoked. One such circumstance is when letters were issued based on intestacy and a will is later admitted to probate. If this happens, the decree admitting the will to probate also revokes the previously issued letters.

Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 1413. Revocation of letters upon proof of will

Where temporary letters of administration, preliminary letters testamentary or letters of administration on the ground of intestacy have been granted and a will is thereafter admitted to probate and letters issued thereupon or where a subsequent will is admitted to probate and letters issued thereupon, the decree granting probate must revoke the former letters.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Probate can become complicated when there is uncertainty related to the existence of a valid will. If you are an interested party in a matter related to the probate of an estate where letters of administration must be revoked, it is important that you are represented by an experienced probate lawyer serving New York to ensure that your interests are protected. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in complex estate matters before the New York Surrogate’s Court. If you have questions or concerns related to the requirements of New York SPCA section 1413, Revocation of letters upon proof of will, or any other will, estate, or trust matter, 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: Manhattan, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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