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