Q. How do I obtain the funds in a decedent's bank account?


The Surrogate’s Courts understand that the time after a family member or close friend dies is difficult and that many responsibilities must be resolved quickly. Because the decedent’s funds can only be released to a fiduciary or administrator,  Surrogate’s Courts process filings as quickly as staffing allows.

  • In New York City, Small Estates/Voluntary Administration processing time is 2 business days; same day service for sealed apartments if application is complete and submitted by 3 pm.
  • In NYC applications filed by mail may not be reviewed for up to 4 weeks, applications filed in person are reviewed immediately.
  • Contact other counties for their processing times and hours open to the public. Check individual court websites for Help Center  telephone numbers and e-mails.

A duty of an administrator of a decedent’s estate is to collect the decedent’s property from debtors, transfer agents or banks. The Surrogate’s Court issues a Short form certificate of authority to the administrator which the administrator can then show to the bank along with evidence such as a passbook or bank statement to collect the funds.

The voluntary administrator must then open a bank account and deposit these funds into that account. See SCPA 1307:

A voluntary administrator shall

1. Deposit in an estate bank account to be opened by him in a bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association or federal savings and loan association in this state, credit union or federal credit union in this state all money received. He shall sign all checks drawn on or withdrawals from the account in the name of the estate by himself as voluntary administrator. Without compensation for his services, he shall pay so far as possible out of the decedent’s assets coming into his possession, the necessary expenses of administration, the reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent and the decedent’s debts in the order provided by law. He shall then distribute the balance to the person or persons entitled and in the amount or amounts provided by EPTL 4-1.1. if decedent died intestate or if a will is filed which is valid on its face, he shall distribute to the persons named in such will, subject to the right of any person affected to contest such will at any time.

2. Account for all personal property of the decedent received and disbursed by him by filing with the clerk of the court a statement of all assets collected and of all payments and distributions made by him and receipts for or cancelled checks evidencing such payments and distributions. No fee shall be charged for the filing of such account

  • Last Updated Sep 08, 2021
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  • Answered By Librarian 5

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