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How to Settle a Small Estate in New York

    • 1). File an "Affidavit in Relation to Settlement of Estate Under Article 13" in the surrogate's court located in the county if you are the administrator of the estate. An administrator is the executor named in the will, if there is one. If not, the right to act as the administrator must be given to the spouse first, then -- in order of preference -- to an adult son, grandchild or parent. Collect the death certificate of the deceased, as well.

    • 2). Present the affidavit and death certificate to banks, insurers, government agencies, employers and other institutions to collect money or securities payable to decedent's estate. As a spouse of the deceased you can collect up to $30,000 if the will doesn't name an executor.

    • 3). Collect all the money if you are the administrator, and pay all the liabilities before distributing the assets according to the will. Ensure the affidavit states that all the payments received by the spouse from all institutions don't exceed the $30,000 threshold.

    • 4). File an affidavit with the surrogate's court in your county to collect $15,000 from the estate when 30 days have elapsed from the date of the death if you are the spouse, child, parent, sibling, niece or nephew of the deceased. Ensure the affidavit states the name of the spouse or relative to collect the money. The list of beneficiaries is in order of entitlement under New York law. If the money used from the funeral was borrowed, the surviving spouse must collect the money from the estate and pay the creditor.

    • 5). Obtain and file the affidavit with a surrogate court in you county. Obtain a death certificate and present it together with an the affidavit to financial institutions and organizations holding the assets of the deceased to claim up to $5,000 if you are owed by the estate of the deceased or you are an entitled beneficiary if six months have elapsed after the death. Ensure the affidavit indicates the deceased didn't have a spouse or a minor child or any qualified fiduciary. It must also show that you're entitled to the payment and that the amount shouldn't exceed $5,000.

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