What are “Letters” in New York State Surrogate’s Court?

Definition of LETTERS:
(noun) / includes letters of administration, letters of administration c.t.a. letters of administration d.b.n., limited letters of administration, ancillary letters of, administration, ancillary letters of guardianship, ancillary letters testamentary, letters of guardianship, letters of temporary administration, letters testamentary, preliminary letters testamentary and letters of trusteeship. A testamentary trustee who has qualified without the issuance of letters shall be deemed for the purposes of this act to have received letters of trusteeship (SCPA § 103 [34])

Plain English Translation: There’s a lot to unwrap here. A fiduciary (representative) can be appointed by the Surrogate’s Court to represent the interests of another person—either living or deceased. This includes executors, administrators, trustees, guardians, and all the variations included in the definition above. The word “Letters” refers to the document issued by the Surrogate’s Court that gives the fiduciary authority to act. It’s the piece of paper that says, “you’re in charge.”

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Samantha M. Sbrocchi
Helping people in New York and New Jersey with various probate, administration and estate litigation matters.