The New York Estates Powers and Trust Law governs who is entitled to receive the proceeds.  The Surrogate Court uses that law to determine who receives the proceeds and how much each family member receives based on criteria established by statute and case law.  When a settlement or verdict is reached, documents are submitted to the Surrogate Court by the wrongful death attorney and estate representative requesting permission to settle the claim and proposing a distribution of the proceeds.  The court may require certain family members be notified of the proposed settlement before approving the settlement, so that in fairness, all who may have an interest can be heard by the Court before any money is paid out of the estate.