Fiduciary-300x185In many instances, there is a possibility that co-fiduciaries may be appointed to represent an estate.  Let’s begin by examining intestate administration.  When a decedent dies without a Last Will and Testament, the appointment of an estate administrator is determined in accordance with Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Section 1001 entitled “Order of priority for granting letters of administration.”  This statute provides that letters of administration are to be granted to family members with priority to a surviving spouse, and then children, and then other more distant relatives.

In particular, since a decedent may have many children, there is a real likelihood that more than one child may wish to serve as administrator.  It is not uncommon in these instances for litigation to occur in the Surrogate’s Court with competing petitions for appointment.  Many times, a matter ends up being resolved with the appointment of co-administrators.

When a decedent leaves a Last Will, the provisions of the document may contain the nomination of co-executors.  Unless one of the named parties declines or is unable to act, the Surrogate’s Court will appoint co-executors to administer and settle the estate.