Since my father passed away without a Will, how would I go about obtaining the money and whatever he had in the safe deposit box?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2014

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Since my father passed away without a Will, how would I go about obtaining the money and whatever he had in the safe deposit box?

When he passed he had money in the bank and a safe deposit box.

Asked on June 16, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. If a person dies with out a WIll it is known as dying "intestate" and the intestacy statute in New York will govern the distribution of his or her estate.  Now, because there is no WIll then there is no named executor so someone has to be appointed as the Administrator of the estate.  Spouse, children, parents have priority. The estate has to be looked at as a whole, in that if the estate falls under a SMall Estate (under $30,000) you may not need to do a formal probate but rather an Affidavit of Small Estate.  In order to look inside the safe deposit box to see what is in there (but not distribute anything) the Surrogate's Court allows you to file a petition prior to probate.  I will give you the link to that program here.  Good luck.

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