TN 8 (03-13)

GN 02315.070 New York Small Estates

Citations:

New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure – Article 13 (1301-1312)

New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law

A. Background for New York small estates

The New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) provides two different procedures that individuals may use to settle small estates without formal administration. For purposes of receiving Title II or Black Lung payments, we consider an individual who is authorized to act pursuant to either of these procedures a “legal representative” of the estate.

B. Policy for serving as voluntary administrator for estates of $30,000 or less

Where the decedent died without a will and died leaving personal property of $30,000 or less, a competent adult may serve as a voluntary administrator of the decedent’s estate in the following order of priority:

  • spouse;

  • child or grandchild;

  • parent;

  • brother or sister;

  • niece or nephew;

  • aunt or uncle;

  • the fiduciary of a distributee; or

  • the chief fiscal officer of the county (except in the Counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Onondaga, Suffolk, and Westchester).

No other person can become a voluntary administrator. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT §§ 1301(1), 1303(a) (2011)).

Where the decedent left a will and died leaving personal property of $30,000 or less, the named executor or alternate executor has the first right to act as voluntary administrator, by filing an affidavit within 30 days after filing the will in surrogate’s court. If the executor or his or her alternate does not file the required affidavit within 30 days after filing the will in surrogate’s court, then beneficiaries under the will could file the required affidavit and act as voluntary administrator in the following order of priority: the sole beneficiary of the will (or the sole beneficiary’s fiduciary if the sole beneficiary is dead), one or more of the residual beneficiaries (or their fiduciary if they are deceased), the public administrator, or the county treasurer. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT §§ 1303(b), 1418 (2011)).

Personal property is exempt from the $30,000 limit if a qualified spouse or minor children survive the decedent. These exemptions include:

  • jewelry (unless disposed of in the will), furniture, appliances, electronic and photographic devices, and fuel valued up to $20,000;

  • books, pictures, and computer software, DVDs, CDs, audio tapes, record albums, and other electronic storage devices valued up to $2,500;

  • farm animals and machinery valued up to $ 20,000;

  • one motor vehicle valued up to $ 25,000; and

  • money or other personal property valued up to $25,000.

(N.Y. EST. POWERS & TRUSTS § 5-3.1 (2011)).

A person may qualify as a voluntary administrator by filing an affidavit and a death certificate with the Clerk of the Surrogate’s Court of the county in which the decedent resided. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT § 1304(3) (2011)). A voluntary administrator can show that he or she is qualified by presenting a certificate from the court showing that he or she filed the required affidavit. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT § 1304(5) (2011)).

C. Procedure for certifying payment to a voluntary administrator

We may certify payment to the voluntary administrator upon his or her presentation for retention by SSA of:

  • The court’s certificate showing that the voluntary administrator filed the required affidavit;

  • A completed SSA-795, Statement of Claimant or Other Person, with a statement that the individual is, pursuant to the requirements of New York’s Surrogate Court Procedure Act, authorized to apply for any underpayment on the account of the decedent, and will, upon payment, give SSA a receipt; and

  • Proof of the decedent’s death, if not already submitted to SSA.

D. Policy for serving as a New York public administrator for estates of $30,000 or less

Public administrators, who exist in the Counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Onondaga, Suffolk, and Westchester are authorized to administer estates of $30,000 or less, without letters of administration. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT §§ 1115, 1211 (2011)). The N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT permits the public administrator (or a county treasurer who has not been appointed a voluntary administrator) to receive Title II payments of $500 or less owed by SSA to the estate of a decedent who resided in the county in which the administrator or treasurer hold office. (N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT § 1311 (2011)).

NOTE: If the treasurer serves as a voluntary administrator, if applicable, see GN 02315.070B (not GN 02315070D).

E. Procedure for issuing payment to a New York public administrator

We may issue a payment of $500 or less, to the public administrator (or county treasurer who the court did not appoint as a voluntary administrator) of the county in which the decedent resided on presentation for retention by SSA of:

  • A certificate evidencing his or her authority to act pursuant to the N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT.

  • A completed SSA-795, Statement of Claimant or Other Person, with a statement that the individual is, pursuant to the requirements of New York’s Surrogate Court Procedure Act, authorized to apply for an underpayment of $500 or less on the account of the decedent, and will, upon payment, give SSA a receipt, and

  • Proof of the decedent’s death, if not already submitted to SSA.

    (SURR. CT. PROC. ACT §§ 1115, 1211, 1311 (2011)).

F. Policy for payment of certain debts without administration

The N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT also provides for the payment of certain debts of a deceased individual to a surviving spouse, close relative, distributee, or creditor of the deceased. N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT § 1310 (2011). Application to SSA for payment pursuant to § 1310 should be forwarded to the Office of the Regional Chief Counsel. Note that for claims for Title II or Black Lung underpayments, N.Y. SURR. CT. PROC. ACT § 1310 is applicable only if (1) the surviving spouse or other close relative did not otherwise qualify to receive the underpayment (see GN 02301.030) or (2) there was no voluntary administrator or public administrator appointed as the legal representative of the deceased’s estate (see GN 02315.070B and GN 02315.070D in this section).


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315070
GN 02315.070 - New York Small Estates - 12/27/2013
Batch run: 12/27/2013
Rev:12/27/2013