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SECTION 1310
Payment of certain debts without administration 1
Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCP) CHAPTER 59-A, ARTICLE 13
§ 1310. Payment of certain debts without administration

1. As used in this section

(a) "Debt" means

(i) money or securities payable on account of a deposit in a bank,
national bank, trust company, branch of a foreign banking corporation,
savings bank, industrial bank, state or federal savings and loan
association or state or federal credit union or with a private banker,
or funds or securities invested with, held by or deposited with a
broker-dealer or with, by or in securities of a management type
investment company or trust payable or returnable to, or to the estate
of, or to a beneficiary designated by, the depositor or

(ii) money payable by a state or federal savings and loan association
or state or federal credit union to, or to the estate of, or to a
beneficiary designated by, a member on account of the withdrawal value
of his shares or

(iii) money payable by an insurance company or a savings bank
authorized to conduct the business of life insurance under an annuity or
pure endowment contract or a policy of life, group life, industrial life
or accident and health insurance or a contract made by such an insurer,
relating to the payment of proceeds or avails thereof, to, or to the
estate of, or to a beneficiary designated by, the owner or the person
purchasing the annuity or the person insured or the person effecting the
insurance or the person effecting the supplemental contract or

(iv) money payable by a public corporation, a state or the federal
government or an agency thereof, to, or to the estate of, or to a
beneficiary designated by, any natural person or

(v) a pension or retirement or death benefit, profit share, earnings,
wages, salary or bonus payable by an employer or by a pension,
retirement or profit-sharing plan or system to, or to the estate of, or
to a beneficiary designated by, an employee, or

(vi) a balance of money due on an accepted claim or account payable,
on account of dividends payable by the superintendent of financial
services in liquidation of bank assets, to, or to the estate of, or to a
beneficiary designated by, a depositor or

(vii) any personal property deposited with a county treasurer by a
coroner or county medical examiner pursuant to sections 785 and 786 of
the code of criminal procedure, or

(viii) any personal property on deposit with a hospital, nursing home,
residential health care facility or out-patient lodge described in
section twenty-eight hundred one of the public health law at the time of
the death of a decedent that is payable or returnable to the estate of
the decedent;

(b) "Debtor" means the person or persons, partnership, corporation,
government or government agency by whom a debt defined in this section
is to be paid,

(c) "Creditor" means the employee, depositor, member, or other person,
to whom, or to whose estate, or to a beneficiary designated by whom, a
debt defined in this section is to be paid and shall include any
beneficiary validly designated by such a creditor,

(d) A "designation of a beneficiary" means any writing, signed by the
creditor and delivered to the debtor purporting to designate the person
to whom a debt shall be paid on death of the creditor or any transaction
which operates pursuant to statute as such a designation.

2. Upon the death of a creditor, unless otherwise provided by a
designation of a beneficiary which is then in effect, it shall be lawful
for the debtor forthwith to pay to the surviving spouse of the decedent
not more than thirty thousand dollars of the debt, upon an affidavit
made by the spouse showing that the payment and all other payments
received by the spouse under this subdivision do not in the aggregate
exceed thirty thousand dollars.

3. Not less than thirty days after the death of a creditor, unless
otherwise provided by a designation of a beneficiary which is then in
effect, it shall be lawful for the debtor to pay not more than fifteen
thousand dollars of the debt to

(a) the surviving spouse,

(b) one or more of the children eighteen years of age or older,

(c) either parent,

(d) the brother or sister,

(e) the niece or nephew of the decedent, preference being given in the
order named if request for payment shall have been made by more than one
such person,

(f) a creditor of the decedent or to a person who has paid or incurred
the funeral expense of the decedent, upon the request of the surviving
spouse or of one of such relatives.

Payment under this subdivision may be made upon an affidavit by the
surviving spouse or relative to whom or at whose request the payment is
made, showing

(i) the date of the death of the decedent,

(ii) the relationship of the affiant to the decedent,

(iii) that no fiduciary has qualified or been appointed,

(iv) the names and addresses of the persons entitled to and who will
receive the money paid, and

(v) that such payment and all other payments made under this section
by all debtors, known to the affiant, after diligent inquiry do not in
the aggregate exceed fifteen thousand dollars. This subdivision does not
limit the right of a debtor to make payment to a surviving spouse within
less than thirty days after the death of the creditor as provided in
subdivision two.

4. Not less than 6 months after the death of a creditor, unless
otherwise provided by a designation of a beneficiary which is then in
effect, it shall be lawful for the debtor to pay a debt which does not
exceed $5,000, or any part of such debt, to a distributee or, to the
extent that the funds are not exempt from claims of creditors, to a
creditor or to a person who has paid or incurred the funeral expenses
upon an affidavit made by the person paid showing

(a) the date of the death of the decedent,

(b) that no fiduciary has qualified or been appointed,

(c) that the decedent was not survived by a spouse or minor child,

(d) that the affiant is entitled to the payment, and

(e) that such payment and all other payments made under this section
by all debtors, known to the affiant, after diligent inquiry, do not in
the aggregate exceed $5,000.

5. A payment made in good faith under this section shall be a complete
discharge to the debtor to the extent of the payment, even though the
affidavit on which payment is made be false, and even though payment
pursuant to subdivision 3 was not made in the order of preference
indicated in that subdivision, provided only that the creditor be dead
and that the required number of days elapse between death and payment
and, in the case of a payment under subdivision 2 or subdivision 3 that
the affiant in fact bear the stated relationship to the decedent and in
the case of a payment under subdivision 4 that the affiant be in fact a
distributee or creditor or have paid or incurred the funeral expenses.

6. Any person receiving payment pursuant to this section is
accountable therefor to the fiduciary of the decedent if one be
appointed or to the public administrator of the county having authority
to take possession of the money or property constituting the debt except
that a surviving spouse entitled to have property set aside to him or to
her pursuant to EPTL 5-3.1 need not account for such payments to the
extent of the exemption provided therein, and the amount so received
shall be credited to such exemption.

7. Nothing in this section shall deprive any person of any right which
he would otherwise have to receive payment of a debt, except as against
a debtor who has made a payment which is a discharge under subdivision
5, nor shall anything in this section deprive any debtor of any right to
make or refuse payment which it would otherwise have. This section does
not limit article 26 of the tax law.

8. It shall be lawful for the debtor to pay a debt which does not
exceed five thousand dollars or any part of such debt, under subdivision
four of this section, to the department of social services or a social
services district where the debt is money payable on account of a
deposit with the debtor for the personal needs of the deceased creditor
while residing in a medical institution or other facility, or otherwise,
and the deceased creditor is indebted to the department or district on
account of medical assistance furnished to or on behalf of the deceased
creditor.

9. This section applies only to creditors who die on or after
September 1, 1952.