Changes to Small Estate Proceedings in Surrogate's Court

January 2, 2020 | by John F. Leone

Beginning November 25, 2019, the filing threshold for a “small estate” under Article 13 of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act has increased from $30,000 to $50,000.  A small estate proceeding allows a personal representative to transfer assets without the formalities and expenses of a formal probate proceeding.  Exempt property under EPTL §5-3.1 does not count toward the $50,000 filing threshold.  Exempt property includes the first $25,000 of cash or stock paid to a spouse and many household items including electronics and furniture.  A small estate proceeding is not available if the decedent owns real property or is involved in litigation. 

This change in the law will decrease the cost to transfer assets of modest estates.

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