Letters of Testamentary New York (process and sample)

This post covers everything you need to know about the letters of testamentary in New York.

Here you will learn

  • What is letters of testamentary in new york
  • How to get letters of testamentary in New York
  • How long does it take to get letters of testamentary in NY?
  • letters of testamentary new york sample
  • etc.

Let’s dive right in

What is letters of testamentary in new york

Letters of testamentary in New York is a legal document that the New York Surrogate’s Court issues following the filing and approval of the proper petition for the purpose of appointing an Executor of the estates belonging to the person who dies testate (leaving a Will).

Before granting a letter testamentary, the court will verify the legality of the deceased’s will and that the petitioner is the person named as executor in the will.

A person can never act as the executor until the court issues Letters Testamentary. Only then he can deal with the deceased estate by collecting the assets of the estate, paying the estate’s debts and expenses, and distributing the remainder to the estate’s beneficiaries.

NB: ‘Letters of testamentary is strictly not a letter as it means in the traditional language. The term “letters” in legal terms denotes “mandate, authorization, and order.”

Contents of letters of testamentary in new york

A new york letters of testamentary contains

  • File No.
  • Name of the deceased
  • Date o death
  • Domicile of the deceased
  • Name and address of the Fiduciary Appointed
  • Title: ‘Letters of Testamentary’
  • Limitations (if any)
  •  The statement that shows to whom the letter is granted and why the letter is granted
  • Date of grant
  • Signature of the clerk
  • Seal of the court

How to get letters of testamentary in New York

The process of getting letters of testamentary in New York is governed by The Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) and initiated by lodging a formal application (Petition) to the New York Surrogate’s Court.

A petition for the letters of Testamentary must be filed by any person designated in the will as legatee, devisee, fiduciary, or guardian and it must allege the petitioner’s and testator’s citizenship, describe the will being offered for probate, and any other will of the same testator on file in the court, and set forth the names and post-office addresses of all of the persons required to be cited, as well as all of the legatees, devisees, and fiduciaries named in the will or any other will so be filed, to the best of their knowledge.

Don’t worry, in Ney Work the format of the petition is already made as a form, you can just access the petition form (fillable pdf) here or in word doc. here

It’s vital to note that the petition for letters testamentary is filed in the county where the decedent resided, not where he died.

The petition must be accompanied by relevant supporting documents including,

  • Original death certificate
  • Original will
  • Affidavit of Comparison
  • Citation
  • Notice of Probate
  • Affidavit of Heirship

NB: Make sure you provide the court with a complete set of documents. If you do not submit all of the essential documentation, your Letters Testamentary will be delayed.

When the application has been served on all eligible persons and returned with proof of service, and no objections to the petitioner’s appointment have been raised, the court may issue a decree granting letters of testamentary to the petitioner or to anybody else who appears to be entitled to them.

When a person is appointed as an administrator of an estate by the Surrogate Court using Letters Testamentary, can:

  • Obtain information from banks and other financial entities that hold the decedent’s assets.
  • Obtain a federal tax identification number for an estate.
  • Transfer assets from the decedent’s name to the estate’s name.
  • Collect claims and settle the decedent’s debts.
  • Marshal the estate’s assets.
  • Distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries after acquiring proper waivers or presenting accounting.
  • Open a bank account for the decedent’s estate.

Letters of Testamentary in New York fee structure

This fee structure is according to Section 2402 of (SCPA)
Value of Estate Fee Rate ($)
Less than $10,00045.00
10,000 but under 20,00075.00
20,000 but under 50,000215.00
50,000 but under 100,000280.00
100,000 but under 250,000420.00
250,000 but under 500,000625.00
500,000 and over1,250.00

How long does it take to get letters of testamentary in NY?

The time it takes to get letters of testamentary is determined by the court’s backlog and, more significantly, whether the petition submitted is complete. Some counties are better than others in processing filings because they have fewer cases and more efficient administrative staff.

Also If someone is opposing your competence to be appointed as the estate executor, getting letters of testamentary may take longer.

During the summer months, judges are on vacation or getting ready to go on vacation, thus the process of getting letters of testamentary takes longer.

letters of testamentary new york sample

letters of testamentary New York, letters of testamentary New York sampleImage credit, The Law Offices of Albert Goodwin

Certificate of Appointment of Executor

A Certificate of Appointment of Executor is an official document that is issued by the court which granted the letters of testamentary to certify that the bearer is granted with the letters of testamentary so he can deal with the decedent’s assets.

You’ll need a couple of Certificates of Appointment of Executor once you’ve received Letters Testamentary.

Each bank and government institution will want an original certificate to be sure that they are dealing with the proper person.

The following is how the Certificate of Appointment of Executor looks.

Certificate of Appointment of Executor, Certificate of Appointment of Executor New York

Image credit, The Law Offices of Albert Goodwin

You may look at the pdf format here

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Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion.

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