While the case of In re Estate of Domingo Torres, Sr. turns on the narrow issue of whether to grant the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) more time to file objections to the account filed by the personal representative, here we will look at why the DSS wants the Surrogate’s Court to hear its objections.
At the time that Torres passed away, he owed the DSS $87.903.76. As part of the estate administration process, New York law requires that the personal representative pay debts owed by the decedent out of estate assets before assets are distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. However, debts can only be paid to the extent there are funds in the estate to do.
As required, the DSS filed a claim against the decedent’s estate for $87.903.76. Even though it appeared as if the claim was valid and timely filed, it was denied simply because the estate did not have the money to pay it. However, the personal representative filed a lawsuit against the party responsible for Torres’ death and recovered $300,000. From that money, the DSS expected to be able to recover the money it was owed.