In the Estate of Tappan, the daughter of the decedent who was also the administrator of his estate, sought permission from the Surrogate’s Court to resign.
An executor or administrator is the person or entity that is appointed by the Surrogate’s Court to manage a decedent’s estate and distribute its assets according to the terms of the decedent’s will or according to New York’s intestate succession rules. “Executor” is the term used when the person is named in the will, while the term “administrator” is used when person appointed is not named in a will. In either situation, the person or entity must be formally appointed by the Surrogate’s Court and receive “letters” before he or she has the legal right to manage a decedent’s estate.
While the court will not force anyone to serve as executor or administrator, if a person takes on the role then decides that he or she no longer wishes to do the job, pursuant to SCPA § 715 he or she must petition the court and ask permission to resign. Typically, if the administrator is qualified and has started the process of managing an estate, the court will deny a petition to resign, unless the administrator presents legitimate reasons for resigning and names a replacement.