Managing a person’s affairs after they pass away is referred to as estate administration. Estate administration is the process by which a person's assets are collected, maintained, and distributed among creditors, heirs and beneficiaries according to the person's will and the laws of New York.
When an individual dies, some of the person's assets may be transferred by trust, joint and survivorship property, payable on death accounts, transfer on death property, and beneficiaries named under life insurance and retirement benefits. These are non-probate assets. Other assets must be transferred through proceedings in probate court and these are called probate assets. Most people die owning both probate and non-probate assets.
Overseeing the estate through a probate or administrative process is a complex process, involving a thorough cataloguing of all assets and debts of the person, managing estate taxes, distributing the estate assets to the appropriate beneficiary, and accounting to beneficiaries for the assets of the estate. Because of the complexity and possibility for mismanagement, it's highly advisable for an appointed executor to consult with an attorney experienced in the areas of estate administration.