In prior blogs, I have discussed what happens to your estate if you die “intestate”, or without a will. Now I shall discuss who will be appointed an administrator to oversee the management of your estate if you die without a will.
The Surrogates Court Procedure Act, more particularly, SCPA 1001, sets forth the priority of who can serve as administrator of your estate when you die without a will.
Similar to the scenario for entitlement to estate assets, the priority follows a similar next-of-kin procedure, with the surviving spouse having first priority, followed in order, by children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, then to any distributees who are eligible to serve and qualify.
All of the above assume that any of the proposed administrators is eligible to serve, meaning they are not non-domiciliary aliens or have been convicted of a felony. If the closest statutory distributee is too remote in relation (i.e. second cousin), then the Court can have the Public Administrator serve in that capacity. Furthermore, all eligible persons can consent to the appointment of one individual to serve as administrator, with priority given to family members.