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Court Conducts an Accounting Proceeding


Before the Nassau County Surrogate Court is the Public Administrator’s motion to dismiss the objections in a contested accounting proceeding.

The woman decedent, a resident and domiciliary of Nassau County, died testate. She was survived by her daughter and three sons.

Decedent executed a last will and testament bequeathing her residuary estate equally among her four children and appointed one of her son as executor. The son-executor filed a petition for probate of the will and for letters testamentary. Decedent’s daughter and executor were each represented by counsel while the other two sons appeared personally in the probate proceeding. The other children of the decedent objected to the appointment of the executor. The beneficiaries entered into a settlement, in open court, for the probate of the will and that they would appoint the Public Administrator as administrator of the estate. The will was admitted for probate and, at the same time, letters of administration were issued to the Public Administrator.

Later, the Public Administrator filed a petition for the settlement of account of the decedent’s estate within a two-year period after. The summary accounting presented by the Public Administrator is in the amount of $392,649.82. The court ordered all parties to discuss this matter with a member of the law department. In their conference the daughter and the Public Administrator were duly represented by their lawyers and the remaining parties appeared in their own behalf. Any objections as to the accounting of the Public Administrator were set to be submitted within a particular date. Objections were filed by two of the decedent’s son, one within the designated period while the other was six-months overdue.

The Public Administrator filed a motion for the dismissal of the aforementioned two objections for being without merit and summary judgment. The daughter’s attorney filed an affirmation in support of the Public Administrator. Nassau County Probate Lawyers said the two sons who filed the objections failed to submit oppositions in relation to the dismissal set forth by the Public Administrator.

The Nassau County Surrogate Court granted the dismissal of the objection, which was filed late by one of the two sons being a mere repetition of the other objection earlier filed.

The following are the issues raised by the decedent’s son in his objections filed in the probate proceedings, which the Public Administrator moves to dismiss: (1) validity of the appointment of the moving party as administrator, (2) the amount legal fees that the Public administrator is entitled to, (3) administrator’s power to sell estate’s property, (4) accountability as to the completeness of the inventory of assets and the list of expenses incurred such as funeral and administration expenses submitted by the Public Administrator, (5) legitimacy of payments for legal fees, attorney’s fees, fiduciary commissions, accounting fees and payments of claims against estate and (6) overall objection as to the accounting of the whole estate of the decedent made by the Public Administrator and the lawyers executing the estate.

A New York Probate Lawyer said that in accordance with CPLR 3212, summary judgment “may be granted only when it is clear that no triable issue of fact exists.” The moving party, Public Administrator, must establish a prima facie case that he is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Absence of which, the motion must not be approved.

Manhattan Probate Lawyers said that in an accounting proceeding, the party claiming for the account of the estate has the burden of proving the nature of expenses incurred and substantiated to ascertain its reasonableness. For settlement of account of the estate, expenses necessary to protect its assets must be paid to the fiduciary, but these must be reviewed by the beneficiaries to warrant exercise of diligence by the trustee of its management.

The Nassau County Surrogate Court, in the case at hand, sustained the dismissal of the objection with reservation as to grant of legal fees prior to submission of the affirmation of legal services performed by the Public Administrator and to serve and file an affidavit bringing the updated account of the estate.

Several issues and objections may be raised during the pendency of a probate proceeding especially in the settlement of account of the estate. Here in Stephen Bilkis and Associates, our Nassau County Estate Administration Lawyers have the capabilities and know-how in the management of a decedent’s estate.

You may visit the office of Stephen Bilkis and Associates to discuss the matter of appointment of an administrator of an estate. Any of our Nassau County Probate Attorneys can assist you with the legal matters concerning the management of the estate of a decedent.

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