2023 New York Laws
EPT - Estates, Powers and Trusts
Article 5 - Family Rights
Part 4 - Rights of Members of Family Resulting From Wrongful Act, Neglect or Default Causing Death of Decedent
5-4.6 - Application to Compromise Action

§ 5-4.6 Application to compromise action

(a) Within sixty days of the application of an administrator appointed under 5-4.1 or a personal representative to the court in which an action for wrongful act, neglect or default causing the death of a decedent is pending, the court shall, after inquiry into the merits of the action and the amount of damages proposed as a compromise either disapprove the application or approve in writing a compromise for such amount as it shall determine to be adequate including approval of attorneys fees and other payable expenses as set forth below, and shall order the defendant to pay all sums payable under the order of compromise, within the time frames set forth in section five thousand three-a of the civil practice law and rules, to the attorney for the administrator or personal representative for placement in an interest bearing escrow account for the benefit of the distributees. The order shall also provide for the following:

(1) Upon collection of the settlement funds and creation of an interest bearing escrow account, the attorney for the administrator or personal representative shall pay from the account all due and payable expenses, excluding attorneys fees, approved by the court, such as medical bills, funeral costs and other liens on the estate.

(2) All attorneys fees approved by the court for the prosecution of the action for wrongful act, neglect or default, inclusive of all disbursements, shall be immediately payable from the escrow account upon submission to the trial court proof of filing of a petition for allocation and distribution in the surrogate's court on behalf of the decedent's estate.

(3) The attorney for the administrator or personal representative in the action for wrongful act, neglect or default who receives payment under this section shall continue to serve as attorney for the estate until the entry of a final decree in the surrogate's court.

(b) If any of the distributees is an infant, incompetent, person who is incarcerated or person under disability, the court shall determine whether a guardian ad litem is required before any payments are made, in which case the court will seek an immediate appointment of a guardian ad litem by the surrogate's court or, if the surrogate's court defers, the court shall make such appointment. Any guardian appointed for this purpose shall continue to serve as the guardian ad litem for the person requiring same for all other purposes.

(c) The filing fee in the surrogate's court shall be computed based on the amount of the gross estate prior to any payments made under this paragraph.

(d) The written approval by such court of the compromise is conclusive evidence of the adequacy of the compromise in any proceeding in the surrogate's court for the final settlement of the account of such administrator or personal representative.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude the attorney for the administrator or personal representative from petitioning the surrogate's court for approval of a compromise and for allocation and distribution thereof.

(f) No letters of administration shall be issued which will in any way serve to abrogate the rights or obligations of an administrator or personal representative or an attorney representing an administrator or personal representative under this section.

(g) In the case of a recovery of an award from the September eleventh victim compensation fund of two thousand one established pursuant to title IV of the federal air transportation safety and system stabilization act, public law 107-42, as amended, where the award consists solely of non-economic losses (funeral expense reimbursement being included as non-economic losses herein) a personal representative may file a consent to the adequacy of the award by all interested parties in lieu of a compromise proceeding.

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