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Found Money After the Administration of the Estate: Suggestions for New York Beneficiaries and Executors/Administrators

{Read in 3 Minutes}  As a Trust and Estates attorney, I frequently represent Executors and Administrators of Estates. One of the crucial parts of the job of these Executors and Administrators is to collect the assets payable to the Estate, pay any creditor’s fees, and then make distribution to the beneficiaries. Will they be people named in a Will, or next-of-kin who will inherit under New York’s intestacy statutes?

This is a process which, on average, can take anywhere between six and twenty-four months, depending on the complexity of the Estate. However, there are times when, long after the Executor or Administrator thinks they have distributed all of the assets of the Estate, they discover that there is more money payable to the Estate. For example, maybe there is an account that the Executor or the beneficiaries did not know about that went to New York State Unclaimed Funds. Or perhaps there was a class action settlement and the Executor received a check payable to the Estate of the deceased for a couple of hundred dollars, 10 years after they died. (By the way, it’s not only the Executor or Administrator who discovers these things. Now and then, a beneficiary does.) What should people do when this happens?

The Executor or Administrator (or the beneficiaries) have some options. The Executor or Administrator must collect the assets, which will involve contacting the Cashier’s Department of the Surrogate’s Court that probated the Will.

The purchase of a new Certificate of Letters will cost a whopping six dollars and then, the Executor or Administrator would present the check and deposit it into the Estate accounts. If they have long since closed the Estate account, they will need to open a new Estate account, deposit the check, wait for it to clear, and then get the funds out to the beneficiaries.

Finally, when any interested party discovers new assets, it’s imperative that everyone involved communicates and keeps everyone informed. Executors and Administrators should send correspondence to the beneficiaries alerting them that this has happened. If a beneficiary is the one to make the discovery, they should immediately contact the Executor or Administrator to discuss what needs to be done to collect the new assets.

For more information on this topic, please, contact me.