Roles of Administrator cta and dbn of an Estate
  1. What is an Administrator c.t.a.?

Scenario A: Georgia passed away in May 2018, a resident of New York County.  She was widowed at the time of her death, and she was survived by only her two adult daughters, April and June.  In Georgia’s will, Georgia named her spouse as Executor, named her daughter, April, as her successor executor, and bequeathed all of her property to her spouse, if he survived her, and then to her two daughters, if her spouse did not survive her. At the time of Georgia’s death, April had no children, while June has two minor children.

Since Georgia’s spouse (who was also April and June’s father) predeceased Georgia, April commenced a probate proceeding by filing the petition for probate and related documents with the court and obtaining jurisdiction over June, who was the only necessary party in this proceeding.  The Court appointed April to act as Executor of Georgia’s estate.  Six months after her appointment, April died.  April never finished administering Georgia’s estate.  What should June do?

June should file a Petition for Letters of Administration c.t.a. An Administration c.t.a proceeding is a proceeding that is commenced where the decedent died with a Will, but the nominated Executor has predeceased the Decedent, or an Executor is appointed by the court, and the appointed Executor dies, resigns, becomes incapacitated, or is otherwise deemed unfit to continue to serve before the Executor finishes administering the estate.

SCPA 1418 sets forth an order of priority of individuals who may petition to become Administrator c.t.a. Specifically, Letters of Administration c.t.a. may issue to:

  1. A sole beneficiary, or if he is deceased, to his or her fiduciary;
  2. To one or more of the residuary beneficiaries, or if any of them are deceased, to his or her fiduciary;
  3. To any other person interested in the estate, or if any of them are dead, to his or her fiduciary.

Here, June qualifies, since she is now the the sole beneficiary.  (If that were not the case, she would otherwise qualify, as she is a residuary beneficiary of the decedent’s estate.)

In order to commence a proceeding for Letters of Administration c.t.a., the petitioner should prepare and file the Petition for Letters of Administration c.t.a., file documents proving that the Executor is no longer willing and able to act (for example, the death certificate of a deceased fiduciary or resignation of a resigning Executor), serve a citation on the necessary parties (or have the necessary parties sign waivers and consents), and file with the court proof that all necessary parties were served.

The petitioner should also obtain the files and any necessary information that is or was in the possession of his predecessor.

An Administrator c.t.a. has the same powers and duties as an Administrator or Executor.  If June is appointed as Administrator c.t.a, she will be able to collect estate assets, pay administrative expenses, pay taxes and debts, sell property that is not specifically disposed of, and distribute the assets in accordance with the decedent’s will.

  1. What is an Administrator dbn?

Scenario B:  Scenario B involves the same facts as Scenario A, except that Georgia died without a will.  April and June are Georgia’s only next of kin (otherwise known as “distributees” in New York), and April petitions for Letters of Administration.  April is appointed as Administrator of Georgia’s estate and dies before she finishes administering the estate.  What can June do?

June can petition for Letters of Administration d.b.n.  Letters of Administration d.b.n. are sought where the appointed Administrator of an estate dies, resigns, or otherwise becomes unfit to act as Administrator before he or she finishes administering the estate.

SCPA § 1001 provides a list of individuals who may petition to become Administrator dbn. (This statute also applies where regular Letters of Administration are sought.) The list includes the following individuals: surviving spouse; adult child; adult grandchild; parent; sibling, and others.

Here, June, as the petitioner, should prepare and file the Petition for Letters of Administration dbn, file documents proving that the Administrator is no longer willing and able to act (for example, the death certificate of a deceased fiduciary or resignation of of a resigning Administrator), serve a citation on the necessary parties (or have the necessary parties sign waivers and consents), and file with the court proof that all necessary parties were served.

Here, like the Administrator c.t.a., the Administrator dbn should also obtain the files and any necessary information that is or was in the possession of his predecessor.

An Administrator dbn also has the same powers and duties as an Administrator or Executor.  If June is appointed as Administrator dbn, she will have the powers to collect estate assets, pay administrative expenses, pay taxes and debts, sell property that is not specifically disposed of, and distribute the assets in accordance with EPTL § 4-1.1.

We are happy to help you obtain letters of Administration cta or dbn.

For more information, please contact probate and estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@rklawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

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