Surely, you’ve seen this movie: family members find inheritance from long-lost rich uncle; live happily ever after. Of course, that far-fetched scenario doesn’t happen quite as often as Hollywood says. But, it does happen! And, how it happens is far less sexy than is depicted in the movies.
It starts with understanding Probate & Estate Administration, and it helps to know what a Public Administrator is. Actually, what is a Public Administrator (“P.A.”)?
Generally, a P.A. is an appointed government official. He or she acts like an “executor” for someone who died with no close or available relatives. Indeed, almost every county in America has a P.A. Although, sometimes the officials go by different titles.
For example, in NYC, the Office of the Public Administrator is a New York City Agency. Further, every NYC County has its own Public Administrator.
An NYC Public Administrator administers the estate of NYC residents who died without close relatives. So, who does the P.A. consider a “close relative”? Generally, a spouse, child, grandchild, or parent. Thus, the P.A. will not get involved if one of the above volunteers as Administrator, and is eligible. On the other hand, a P.A. must intervene if the closest relative is a nephew or aunt.
What does a Public Administrator do? First, the P.A. makes funeral arrangements and secures property from theft or loss. Second, she liquidates assets to pay outstanding bills and taxes. Finally, and most importantly, she distributes the money to the known heirs.
How To Find Inheritance with the P.A.
So, how can you find inheritance like the lucky protagonist in the movies? Well, it starts by realizing that it requires more diligence than luck. Indeed, you are more likely to inherit if you reach out to the P.A., than if you are waiting for a call.
Are you a distant relative of someone who died in NYC? Do you believe you are their closest surviving heir? Then, you’ll need to prove your relationship before you can collect from an NYC Public Administrator.
Obviously, you cannot simply explain your relationship to the P.A. and collect your inheritance. Nor is it enough to simply submit a family tree. Instead, you will need to start a “kinship proceeding” in court to prove your relation. Believe it or not, you might even need to prove that another person is not related, to protect your inheritance!
Like any other hearing or trial, a kinship proceeding requires extensive knowledge of the law and rules of evidence. Velella & Basso has more than 40 years of experience proving and challenging kinship in NYC Courts.
Our Probate & Estate Attorneys will get you the most money under the law. Sometimes, we do this by aggressive opposition to another’s claim. Other times, we rely on our longstanding relationships with New York Public Administrators. Through our close relationships, we are able to ensure the State is not squandering your inheritance on fees and commissions. Contact us today for a free consultation!