If you are in the position of taking care of the affairs of a recently deceased relative, you may find that their house or apartment has been sealed by the police. This is commonly done when the police are notified of a person's death and the home or apartment has no other occupants. This is to prevent theft of a deceased person's belongings and, in some cases, to preserve evidence. Family members generally discover that the premises has been sealed when they attempt to access the home of a loved one to retrieve their last will and testament. If the family visits the local precinct to request access, they are advised entry to the home will only be allowed upon the presentation of a court order from the Surrogate's Court.
As New York estate attorneys, we are commonly called upon to assist clients in obtaining an "Order to Examine the Residence" from the Surrogate's Court. The process requires us to travel to the Surrogate's Court in the county in which the loved one died and file a petition with the Miscellaneous Department. We file a Petition to Examine the Premises along with a proposed order and death certificate along with a $20 filing fee. Depending on the county and workload of the court, the order may be issued immediately, or it may take a few days to a couple of weeks, although we always do our best to have it expedited due to the exigent nature of the request.
Once the signed order is issued, you can proceed to the police precinct holding the keys and schedule a time for them to escort you to the premises to conduct a search for the Last Will and Testament among other important documents. After you have conducted the search and obtained the relevant documents, the police will once again seal the home. You will be able to gain access again once someone has been appointed as either the Executor or Administrator of the Estate and Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration have been appointed authorizing them to gather and distribute the decedent's assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. Some family members choose to use Deceased estate rubbish removals to help make the process easier. However, if your loved one doesn't have many belongings, you may not need to do this.
If you find yourself in the position of wrapping up the final affairs of a friend or family member, you should seek the services of an experienced estate attorney to assist you.
Law Offices Of Roman Aminov 147-17 Union Turnpike, Flushing, NY 11367 (347) 766-2685
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