Changes to New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. Section 707

Criminal conviction, no problem | Assets all tied up in the estate, no problem

A felony conviction no longer disqualifies one from serving as a fiduciary in an estate in New York State now.  It is subject to the Judge’s discretion, and he may appoint someone who is a convicted felon.  

Your attorney should show the court why you are fit to serve and explain the circumstances of the underlying charges that led to your conviction.  Our office can assist you as we have the knowledge on what is necessary to obtain that approval.

SCPA 707 no longer disqualifies felons from serving as fiduciaries.

New York State legislators changed the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act section 707 which longer disqualifies an individual from serving as a fiduciary of an estate or trust matter if s/he has a felony conviction.  Effective as of October 22, 2021, a felon can now receive fiduciary letters from the Surrogate’s Court that appoint the felon as an executor, guardian, or trustee in a decedent’s estate.

However, the Court still has discretion to deny the appointment and issuance of letters when there may be a risk or not in the best interests of the estate.   SCPA 707(2)(b) now allows the court to declare a felon ineligible to be a fiduciary where the “crime may be adverse to the welfare of the estate, including but not limited to, crimes such as embezzlement or any crime where there was a misappropriation of money or a breach of fiduciary duty.”

Presenting one’s case is key under certain circumstances when applying for such an appointment and one has a felony conviction.  An experienced estate and probate attorney can best present this case.  

Bonnie Lawston, P.C.

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