Does New York Surrogate’s Court Have Authority to Evict Occupants of Estate and Trust Property?

When someone dies and leaves real property as part of their estate, such as rental property, commercial and retail buildings, and residential property, it becomes part of their estate. If they have a will in place, then the property is distributed according to the deceased’s wishes as outlined in the will.

In some cases, if the decedent also had a trust, then the property may be transferred to the trust as outlined in the will. One issue that arises as part of the probate processes in New York Surrogate’s Court is whether they have the authority to evict occupants of an estate and trust property.

Why Would New York Surrogate’s Court Need to Evict Occupants?

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It is quite common for a deceased landlord to have renters in rental properties in NYC and the surrounding boroughs. The estate executor would continue to collect rental payments as part of their responsibilities for protecting the estate’s assets.

However, if the decedent indicated they wanted to sell the property, or if it was being transferred to a trust or another beneficiary, then the recipient does not have to honor existing lease agreements. Rather, they can give notice that tenants will need to move out.

If they refuse, then eviction proceedings would need to occur. Instead of filing in New York City Civil Court, which handles landlord-tenant issues, the new property owner could file their request with the New York Surrogate’s Court.

The Surrogate’s Court is tasked with overseeing that a decedent’s estate is distributed according to their will and/or transferred to their trust. As such, they have the power to issue eviction orders of occupants in a property that is part of the decedent’s estate.

Furthermore, the Surrogate’s Court has the power to evict occupants from residential properties that are part of the estate. For instance, the deceased may have had a caregiver living with them at the time they died. The caregiver may not have another home.

Yet, if they are not named as the beneficiary of the property, then they need to move out. If they refuse, then the estate executor or estate administrator could request an eviction order from the Surrogate’s Court.

How to Address Probate Issues Relating to Estate and Trust Property

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If the occupant refuses to vacate the estate or trust property, then the task of having to start eviction proceedings must occur. It is not that the estate executor or estate administrator necessary wants to evict; they are simply fulfilling their duties of gathering, securing, distributing all estate assets.

If the property has already been transferred to the trust or beneficiary, then the eviction task falls to the new owner. In either case, it is a good idea to get help from a New York estate lawyer with eviction proceedings through New York Surrogate’s Court. Eviction as this point can be rather complex and detailed. The beneficiary often needs expert legal representation.

If you have further questions or need assistance with estate and trust property eviction proceedings in Jamaica, Queens, Brooklyn, New York City or Manhattan, please feel free to contact New York estate lawyer, Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C. at 718-276-6656 today!

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