How Long are Letters Testamentary Good for in New York?

How long are letters testamentary good for in New York? Depends on what you mean by “good for”:

  1. How long are my letters testamentary certificate valid?or
  2. How long to I hold the title of Executor?

First, how long is your actual certificate valid?

Typically 6 months, sometimes as short as 30 days.

Let’s say you’re trying to close a bank account or sell a piece of real estate that was owned by the person who passed away. The bank or the title company will want what they call, “fresh letters.”

That means letters that were issued (dated) within the past six months of when you do this transaction or close this account. And some institutions or co-ops are even stricter, and want to see a date within the past 30 days.

Why? Because if too much time passes, the court may have taken some action such as revoking the letters, changing the executor, or something else that would mean that you no longer have the legal authority to close the account or to sell the property.

If you need fresh letters, it’s pretty simple to go down to the Surrogate’s Courthouse and pay six dollars to the cashier for a fresh set.

Second, how long do you hold the title of Executor?

There is no deadline, as long as the estate needs to be open. So, until you close the estate or until the court removes you.

As you can imagine, some estates take much longer than others. An estate with multiple rental properties will take much longer to close than one with just bank and brokerage accounts.

So there’s no formal time deadline.

Audio Transcript:

How long are letters of administration good for in New York?

Typically six months, but it depends.

Let’s give an example.

Let’s say you’re trying to close a bank account or sell a piece of real estate that was owned by the person who passed away.

Well, the bank or the title company is going to want to see what they call, quote, “fresh” letters of administration.

And what they mean by “fresh” is they want to see that the date that the letters were issued within the past six months of when you do this transaction or close this account.

And that’s because if too much time passes, the court may have taken some action such as revoking the letters, changing the executor or something else that would mean that you no longer have the legal authority to close the account or to sell the property.

If you need fresh letters, it’s pretty simple to go down to the courthouse and pay six dollars to the cashier for a fresh set.

Hope you found this helpful. Take care now.

[Previously posted on YouTube]

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