Jack died last week in Brooklyn, New York. His cousin, Maria, found his Last Will and Testament while searching for details about his cemetery plot. The Will left a portion of Jack’s estate to Maria and named Maria’s mother, Jennifer, as Jack’s executor. Jennifer had passed away several years earlier. The successor Executor also died before Jack.

Jack left behind assets which did not have a beneficiary designation or otherwise pass by operation of law. Thus, probate was necessary. Maria became concerned about who could administer this estate.

Maria may seek to be appointed Administrator C.T.A. of John’s Will.

Administrator C.T.A. literally means “letters of administration with the will annexed.’’  An Administrator C.T.A. may be appointed when an individual dies and has a Will which either:

  1. Fails to name an executor;
  2. Names an executor and/or substitute executor who has predeceased the decedent or died during the administration of the estate; or
  3. Names an executor who for whatever reason fails to qualify as executor of the estate

In this case, Jack’s named executors have both died before him. Although the named executors have predeceased him, is Maria statutorily able to obtain letters of administration, c.t.a.?

Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act Section 1418(1) states the priority of individuals entitled to receive letters of administration c.t.a. as follows:

  1. To a sole beneficiary of the Estate;
  2. To one or more of the residuary beneficiaries

If there is no eligible person entitled to letters who will accept, the court may issue letters to one or more of the “persons interested” in the estate.

Maria is named as a beneficiary of Jack’s estate and therefore would be entitled to petition and obtain letters of Administration, C.T.A.

For more information about how Maria would qualify and how to tackle the specific hurdles of being an Administrator, C.T.A., feel free to contact our office.

Additional resources provided by the author

For more information, please contact estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Email: rkiperman@gylawny.com
Or visit her at her new location:
Grimaldi & Yeung LLP
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

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