The legal services required in processing a person’s affairs after death is the area of law known as Estate Administration. This takes place once the fiduciary has been appointed. Generally, the Estate Administration process can be divided into the following stages:
Initial court proceeding: probating a Will in Surrogate Court, or if the person died without a Will (intestacy), filing a “administration” proceeding in the Surrogate Court;
Nuts and bolts of estate administration: collection, inventory and valuation of assets, sale of decedent’s real estate and other assets, record keeping, raising cash requirements, payment of expenses, debts and legacies, filing of Surrogate Court’s inventory;
Filing of Tax Returns. This would include a decedent’s final personal income tax return, any necessary fiduciary income tax returns, as well as any New York State or Federal estate tax return which may be due;
Accounting and settlement. Preparation of the fiduciary’s Accounting- Judicial versus Non-Judicial Accountings; final distributions of estate assets and payment of commissions; finalizing all aspects of the estate.