NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2573A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the surrogate's court procedure act, in relation to
removing the prohibition on individuals convicted of a felony that
prevents them from being appointed fiduciary of an estate
The intent of this legislation is to allow those who have served their
sentence the ability to become executor or executrix of their family
estate. Current law prevents anyone convicted of a felony to become a
fiduciary of an estate, even if the deceased parent/family member(s)
name said individual executor to the estate.
This legislation also gives latitude to the court to still judge on
certain cases where the prior conviction was associated with fraud,
embezzlement or whose crime may be averse to the welfare of the estate.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1. Paragraphs (d) and (e) of subdivision 1 and subdivision 2 of
section 707 of the surrogate court procedure act, paragraph (e) as
amended by chapter 514 of the laws of 1993, are amended and a new subdi-
vision 3 is added, Interpreter.
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
It is important for persons preparing their estate plan to prepare a
Will and Trust and to nominate the persons they want to act as execu-
tors, executrix or trustees. In most instances the court respects the
choices made by the creator of the document and appoints the nominated
parties. It is detrimental to grieving families when an individual is
prohibited from acting as an executor due to his or her conviction after
paying their debt to society.
State laws govern probate and surrogate courts, not federal law, so the
rules can vary a great deal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For
example, in New Jersey and Oregon, there are no laws stating that a
convicted felon can't serve as executor of an estate. In New Jersey,
this applies even if the named executor is still in jail when the testa-
tor dies. In other states, such as Illinois and New York the law specif-
ically states that a convicted felon can't serve under any circum-
Courts may be more likely to remove an executor or bar him from taking
office if the nature of his crime is specifically averse to the welfare
of the estate. For example, if the conviction was for embezzlement, this
might create trust issues relating to the executor's involvement with
the estate's finances. If the conviction was drug-related and had noth-
ing to do with misappropriation of money, a court might be more likely
to overlook it
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Referred to Judiciary: 01/08/2020
Amended and recommitted to Judiciary: 09/09/2020 Amended and
recommitted to Judiciary: 05/05/2021
This act shall take effect immediately.