Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an Estate?
      • An estate is any asset owned by an individual that has value. It may consist of cash or other personal property. An estate may or may not have real property. Whatever the value of a decedent’s estate, it must be properly distributed pursuant to the provisions of the New York Estate Laws.


  2. How Can I Report A Death to the Public Administrator?


  3. What do I do if the Police Dept. sealed my deceased loved one’s residence or invoiced property?
    • Finding where to go to access your deceased love one’s property depends on a number of factors. Use the table below to determine which situation applies to your case. All of the applications listed are available on the Bronx County Surrogate Court’s webpage.
    • If you are not a distribute/heir and do not have a Will and there is no one able to administer the estate or there are no known distributes, the PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR may be able to access the residence, retrieve invoiced property, and distribute it to those entitled to it under law.
    • Contact the Surrogate Court via email [] if you fall are any of the following Distributees/Heirs:
        1. Spouse
        2. Children
        3. Parents
        4. Siblings
        5. Grandparents
        6. Aunts-Uncles




      $50,000 or LESS


      If there is no Will and you are an Heir Administrative Dept. Surrogate Court Small Estates/ Voluntary Administration

      $50,000 or LESS


      If there is an original Will and you are named in it Administrative Dept. Surrogate Court Small Estates/ Voluntary Administration
      MORE than $50,000 If there is no Will and you are a distribute/heir Administrative Dept. Surrogate Court Letters of Administration
      MORE than $50,000 If there is an original Will and you are named in it Probate Dept. Surrogate Court Petition for Probate


  4. How Can I File a Claim Against an Estate Being Administered by the Public Administrator?
    • If you paid for the funeral expenses of the estate, you are entitled to reimbursement under New York State Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, Article 18, Section 1811, No. 1. You must submit sufficient documentation supporting the claim.

      To seek reimbursement for a Funeral Claim, please submit the following:

      • Funeral Bill for the decedent, endorsed “Paid in Full”
      • Proof of Payment that you are the person responsible for paying for the funeral, i.e., a copy of your canceled check, receipt if you paid in cash or credit card bill)
      • A copy of the Death Certificate.
      • Photo Identification

      Upon receipt of these three items, we will be in a position to consider reimbursing you for the funeral of this decedent, after deduction of the applicable file charges, to the extent that our office possesses funds.

  5. What Can I Do If I was the Decedents Landlord?
    • If the decedent lived in a rental apartment, the landlord may file a Notarized Report of Death with the Public Administrator. If there is no known next of kin confirmed by the Medical Examiner’s Office, then the Public Administrator will inventory the apartment; take any property of value, and release the apartment to the landlord. If there are known next of kin, the Public Administrator has no jurisdiction over the matter unless reasonable time has passed and the next of kin has not taken any steps to become the fiduciary of the estate.