In New York, the Surrogate’s Court system has jurisdiction over estate matters. There are Surrogate’s Courts in each county in New York. The proper venue for an estate proceeding is determined by where the decedent was domiciled at the time of their death. Domicile refers to the location where a person has their primary home. Determining domicile can be tricky when someone is a long-term patient at a healthcare facility. In the case of In re the Estate of Bonora, the Surrogate’s Court had to determine whether the decedent was a resident of Kings County or Richmond County at the time of her death.
For many years before her death, decedent Palma Bonora resided in Kings County, New York. However, on March 31, 2008, she was admitted to St. Elizabeth Ann’s Health Care and Rehabilitation in Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. She passed away on July 12, 2013 while she was still a patient there. The Public Administrator of Richmond County file for letters of administration and was granted temporary letters on December 13, 2013. The Public Administrator of Kings County moved to intervene and filed objections, alleging that there are common questions of law or fact, including whether the decedent was domiciled in Richmond County or Kings County at the time of her death.