Helpful Checklist and Tips for When a Loved One Dies in NY


If you’ve come across this post because you’ve recently lost a loved one, I want to extend my sincerest condolences to you and your family. Losing an important person in your life is difficult enough and you should be able to focus on the grieving process and mourning the loss of the loved one. It is the focus of my firm to help you through this difficult period of life and provide guidance and assistance in properly managing the estate of your loved one.

Practically, there are several steps that need to be taken after a loved one passes away. While it may seem overwhelming or daunting, my office is available to walk you through the process and make it as easy for you and your family as possible. If you’d like to start the process yourself. A helpful checklist will be provided at the end of this post for you to refer to.

When a person passes away, everything that he or she has left behind is now considered in the ’decedent’s “estate”. However, an estate must be properly settled through the NY court system before any assets can be distributed. If your loved one passed away with a Last Will and Testament then the process is called “Probate.” If your loved one passed away without a Last Will and Testament then the process is called “Administration.” Each of these processes is pursued through the New York Surrogate Court of the county that your loved one resided in prior to his/her death. The probate/administration proceeding is the process in which (most often) a family member is chosen as the formal representative of the decedent’s estate. This representative is referred to as the executor (Probate) or the Administrator (Administration).

Is it the responsibility of the executor/administrator to collect all of the assets of the decedent and put it into the name of the estate. For example, if the decedent left a bank account, life insurance with no designated beneficiary and property, the executor/administrator will transfer all of these assets into the name of the estate. Once the assets are in the estate’s name, the executor/administrator may distribute the assets per the Last Will and Testament or if there is no Will, then through the intestacy process.

The process of probating or administering an estate can take an extended period of time. But there are several things that you can do once a loved one passes away that can make the process a bit easier and more efficient. See this checklist below or click here to download.

Checklist Upon a Loved One's Passing