If you die without a will, the proceeding to deal with your Estate is called an administration proceeding. (if you die with a will the proceeding is called a probate proceeding).
In an administration proceeding, any close relative can request the court to appoint them as the administrator of your Estate. Sometimes more than one relative requests to be the administrator of your Estate and this creates an estate litigation in the Surrogate’s court. An administration proceeding is initiated by filing a petition with the Surrogate’s court in the county in which you resided in prior to your death. The administrator has the exact same role as an executor. (the executor administrates the Estate in a probate proceeding where there is a will). The administrator gathers together the assets, liquidates the assets and distributes them among the intestate beneficiaries of the Estate.
Wills Are Better than Dying Intestate
If you write a will it clearly establishes who you want to receive your assets and who you want to deal with the administration of your estate. The person who administrates your estate will be in charge of handling your funeral arrangements and controlling your assets until they are distributed. This is an important function that should be dealt with by you before you die!
If you die without a will, your family may be subject to delays, additional costs and expenses in the intestacy proceeding. In intestacy, the State of New York determines who your beneficiaries are, not you and who will become your administrator and will control your assets is up for grabs. The State of New York does not know what your real intentions were concerning your Estate and who you wanted to Administrate it. So therefore, it is highly recommended you write a will before you die!