Estate administration is not just a legal task. It’s an emotional, legal, and financial undertaking with long-lasting consequences for you and your loved one’s legacy. The process often involves legal requirements, complex tax and financial considerations, and sensitive family dynamics that can overwhelm anyone — especially those already coping with a loss.

At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, Michael Amoruso and Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso bring nearly 60 years of combined experience to guide you through every aspect of estate administration in New York and Connecticut. From probate proceedings to asset distribution, we provide thorough legal support designed to handle your unique circumstances. We can handle all the legal details so you can focus on what truly matters.

For those clients who choose us for their planning prior to death, estate administration is a key aspect of what we at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP call comprehensive estate planning. This innovative technique is a signature part of our practice. It is an all-inclusive, tailor-made strategy that comprises elements covering elder law, tax law, asset protection, and long-term care matters. This proactive approach meets your wishes in life and death, while lessening potential strain and worries for your loved ones when the time comes to administer your estate.

Contact Amoruso & Amoruso LLP today and find out how a New York estate administration lawyer can help you achieve peace of mind.

What Is Involved in the Estate Administration Process?

Estate administration is a legal process that takes place after someone dies, with or without a will. The purpose of estate administration is to distribute the deceased person’s assets to the proper beneficiaries and pay off any debts or taxes the estate owes.

The key steps involved in the estate administration process typically include:

  • Probate or Administration Proceedings – If the deceased person has a valid will, the probate process begins once a Petition for Probate is filed with the court. If no will exists, the process is called administration.
  • Appointment of Executor or Administrator – The court appoints an executor (someone nominated in the deceased’s will) or estate administrator to manage the estate’s affairs.
  • Inventory and Appraisal – The executor or administrator must identify all the estate’s assets and appraise their value to determine the size and value of the estate.
  • Creditors and Payment of Debts – Once an estate is admitted to probate or administration, creditors have a chance to make claims against the estate. Estate assets first go toward paying off valid debts, including taxes.
  • Distribution of Assets – After debts and expenses get paid, remaining assets go to beneficiaries according to the decedent’s will or, if there is no will, per New York or Connecticut intestacy laws.
  • Final Accounting and Closing the Estate – The executor or administrator provides a final accounting (formal or informal) of all transactions to the court (if required) and beneficiaries, and the estate is formally closed upon receiving releases from the beneficiaries.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Executor or Administrator?

In New York and Connecticut, the court appoints an Estate Administrator when someone dies intestate, meaning without a will. If a person has a valid Last Will and Testament admitted to probate, then the court will appoint an Executor typically nominated in the will. Both the Executor and the Estate Administrator have a fiduciary duty to marshal and manage the estate assets and will be held to account for their actions. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Inventory of Assets – The executor or administrator must locate and compile an inventory of the deceased person’s assets, including bank accounts, real estate, and personal belongings.
  • Paying Creditors – After marshaling the estate’s assets, the executor or administrator is responsible for paying off valid debts, including any taxes the estate owes.
  • Filing Tax Returns – The executor or administrator must file the deceased person’s final income tax, estate income tax, and estate tax returns, if applicable.
  • Asset Management and Investment – While the estate is being settled, the executor or estate administrator must marshal and manage the assets to prevent loss of value.
  • Distribution of Assets – Once estate debts and taxes have been settled, the executor will distribute the remaining assets as provided in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, while the administrator must distribute the remaining assets to the heirs at law as provided in New York’s and Connecticut’s intestacy laws.
  • Court Reports – The executor and administrator must submit periodic reports to the court and make a final accounting before the estate can be closed.