As of Monday, May 18, 2020, any uncontested probate, administration and small estate matter involving an individual who passed away due to COVID-19 related causes is deemed an essential matter. This means if your estate involves a COVID-19 related death and the court will process the matter upon filing of properly completed filings and notice to the court that the decedent died from COVID-19. If a COVID-19 related matter requires a citation due to a parties inability or unwillingness to consent to the appointment of an executor or administrator, that matter will be put on hold until the court resumes issuing Citations for a date to appear in Surrogate’s Court. New procedures are being considered for court appearances for citation dates to maintain proper social distancing and the safety of those that come to court. All other matters continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Court is still processing and reviewing all matter that were submitted on or before March 16, 2020.
At this time, uncontested matters for decedents with non-COVID-19 causes of death all COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 contested matters can be electronically filed to “get in line” but are not being reviewed or processed.
At Burner Law Group, P.C. in our Estate Administration Department we are working with our clients to make sure that any new matters that have COVID-19 related deaths are being filed appropriately with the court’s protocol to make sure they are given essential status and processed. We have reviewed all pending matters for deaths occurring since March 2020 to see if any of those are COVID-19 related and can receive essential status and reporting them to the court. For all other estate matters deemed non-essential by the court, we are getting all of the petitions, waivers and other necessary documents prepared and circulated to the interested parties so that we can file these matters to get in the electronic line for when the courts begin processing the non-COVID-19 matters.
The Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court releases updates to its procedures frequently as Administrative Orders are issued by the Chief Judge in Albany and we will be sure to share the latest developments.