A loved one passes away, so what do you do?

Jodi B. Zimmerman, Esq.



Jodi B. Zimmerman, Esq.

Sichenzia Ross Ference Kesner LLP


A loved one passes away, so what do you do?

First you have to find out if the person had a Last Will & Testament, if they did, you will want to check to see who the decedent named as executor because that is the best person to petition the Surrogate’s Court for Letters Testamentary. This process is known as Probate.

Ok, so what are Letters Testamentary? Letters Testamentary, also known as Letters of Appointment, will allow the executor to:

 Administer your estate and distributing the assets to your beneficiaries,

 Making certain tax decisions,

 Paying any estate debts or expenses,

 Ensure all life insurance and retirement plan benefits are received, and

 File the necessary tax returns and pay the appropriate federal and state taxes.

What if decedent didn’t have a Last Will and Testament?

The basic process is the same, however now you are petitioning the Surrogate’s Court for Letters of Administration. Once Letters are issued, the Administrator can handle all the same duties as the executor enumerated above.

Big difference when there is no Last Will & Testament is that the laws of intestacy determine how decedent’s assets pass, rather than the decedent deciding during his or her lifetime.

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