Our lawyers recently heard of a divorced individual who passed away and left two children below the age of 18 years. When the person passed away, the individual had no will in place. As a result, it was uncertain who the deceased individual wanted to appoint as a personal representative of the estate.
Remember, a person passes away without appointing a personal representative, New York law dictates who can apply to be appointed as a personal representative. Because the deceased individuals were below the age of 18, they could not apply to the court for appointment as personal representatives.
The surviving family filed the appropriate paperwork with probate court hoping for the nomination of a conservator for each child. After the court-appointed conservators, the conservators selected a personal representative for the estate. The person chosen by the conservators then filed paperwork requesting the appointment of a personal representative. This person then gathered all of the deceased parent’s assets, paid the deceased person’s creditor claims, and then divided and transferred the remaining assets to each minor child’s conservator. These conservators must hold assets for the children until the children reach eighteen years of age. This case took a long time to resolve and involved substantial costs. Besides court fees, accounts, conservators, and lawyers also had to be paid.